#51: Free Swimming with the Harbor Seals

We have recently started free swims with the Atlantic harbor seals. What exactly is a free swim you ask? For us, it is any time a person is in the water with the seals outside of a training session or cleaning dive. We consider free swims to be a type of enrichment for the seals (and of course the trainers). Since it is very new and we want the seals to be comfortable with us hanging out in the exhibit, we will start by going in for short periods of time, taking a break, then going back in.

In this video, you can see Rochelle doing one of the first free swims with the seals. In her first short swim, Amelia comes right over to check her out. In the second swim, Rochelle has picked up a toy to see if anyone is interested and Chuck swims by while Cayenne checks her out from a distance (look at the top left corner). In the third swim, Trumpet checks her out from a distance. I wonder if they will come any closer?...Check back to see!



  1. Sea dogs! Or I suppose more accurately, sea bears! Is their a seal equivalent of raw hide chews?

  2. You look freezing! Are you treading water that whole time?

  3. burrr it looks so cold, but still must be a cool experience!

  4. How Awsome. You should start a free swim with seals program right here at the aquarium. A lot of people would love that.

  5. Thanks for the comments! Here are some answers to your questions:

    Andrew B: one of their favorite toys are fish-icles; you can learn more about these in posts #45 and #47

    Cam and Kim: while the water is a "refreshing" 58-61 degrees F, you'll notice Rochelle is in a wetsuit (you can see it clearly in the beginning) - this is what keep her warm and bouyant

    Jenna: with the construction of the New Balance Marine Mammal Exhibit, we are hoping to offer more interactive programs, so stay tuned


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