Seal Watching at Swinburne Island

Saturday, January 22, 2012

distance: 8 miles

weather: overcast, 26°F

kayakers: Bruce Taterka, Jürgen Englerth

put-in: 12:50pm

finish: 3:25pm

Swinburne Island is an artificial island south of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. It was created in 1860 and used to quarantine immigrants with contagious diseases. A few years ago, harbour seals started using Swinburne Island as a gathering spot in the winter and there are more and more of them each year.

Our goal on this January day was to do some seal watching. We put in at Buono Beach on Staten Island near the Alice Austen House.

Underneath the starting line of the New York City Marathon

We paddled under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and out into Lower New York Bay.

The skyline of Jersey City in the background

We saw plenty of seals. They came closer the longer we stayed. One even followed us back almost all the way to the Verrazano Bridge.

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