When dead seals bite

While walking along a sandy and rather monotonous stretch of beach near Lamberts baai, I became acutely aware that the numerous dead seals lying on the high-tide mark had an unusually high number of mature adults, among them. Generally, seals seem to have a reasonably high mortality rate, especially among the juveniles and sub adults. I don’t think this has anything to do with the climate, fish stocks or other man made influences. I think that’s the way it’s always been.

I had walked past about fifty seals on that day, all dead and in various states of decay. Yet I was intrigued as to why the number of adults had increased so dramatically. There had been evidence that some of the seals had been shot. A heavy sea mist had accompanied me all day. It reduced my vision down to about thirty meters and cast a surreal nether world light. The kind of setting you find in an old Alfred Hitchcock movie. Complete with dead carcases and oppressing silence. You half expect the old boy to pop out of the mist.

Sure enough, I came upon another dead seal. He was lying at an odd angle and the tide had washed around him, leaving him abandoned and discarded like an old rag on the high-tide mark. He must have washed up on the recent high tide and looked recently deceased as his eyes had still not been robbed by the ever thieving gulls. This would be a great opportunity to inspect the corpse in order to ascertain if the cause of death was indeed gunshot wounds. The carcass was fresh and would therefore show any injuries clearly, before predators and decay could hide the evidence.

The day had been long and I was tired, having plodded through the soft sand for about six hours. I strolled up to the corpse and went to roll it onto its back with my booted foot. That’s when things got a little interesting. As my foot was about to touch the seal, the head moved and its eyes flew open like some horror movie. At this point my brain went into overdrive. Yeah right!!! It climbed into a tub of treacle and laboriously started to process the information. My IBM had become an abacas.

Seals are usually docile and normally thunder off into the sea shouting obscenities. Not this chap. Sure he squealed, but not the kind of scolded dog squeal you normally get. More like the triumphant squeal an elephant gives right before he stomps on you. The large brute promptly lunged at me, its jaws gaping. It is funny how in that split instant he seemed to double in size and his dog like teeth seemed to grow into the fangs of a sabre toothed cat. The high jump coach for the Beijing Olympics would have gawped in awe at my athletic prowess. I seemed to lift off vertically on one foot. My thirty kg back pack turned into a weather balloon and I am sure I shot up two meters. I frantically took my trek pole and wacked the seal on the nose. This seemed to alter his intentions and he took off like a slug on jet fuel.

With beating heart and a flush of adrenaline I had turned into Spartacus. Of all the eloquent things I could have said, all I managed was “bugger off, I’m not fish”.

5 Responses to “When dead seals bite

  • It turned out funny but could have turned out serious if he bit you. Be careful out there my friend. Always on your guard!

  • Hello grandad i read ur story it made me laugh so much and I love it have u seen any sharks yet love you Robbie xxxxxxxx

  • Hi grandad I read ur story as well so did Nanny we are laughing our heads off! Love you millions and so does Roddie ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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