Stranded grey seal pup on the beach of Vlieland - picture Zeehondencréche Lenie 't Hart www.zeehondencreche.nl
It was "a perfect storm" today: timing, location and power came exactly like the weather-service predicted. According to the TV-news: only some ‘minor’ inconveniences, no casualties and limited damage: a floating crane-ship stranded on the Afsluitdijk, some roofs were blown away, trees were disrooted, that’s all. I suppose most of us listened well to the advice of the KNRM and didn’t go out on the water. Though surf was quit alluring… (Btw: having fun in the surf is not a privilege for kayakers, a rowing boat will do also. Have a look at this terrific Video clip. Oars can hurt…).
There were no reports about stranded puppy seals in the news today. Surprising; there sure have been dramatic scenes going on at the sands with poor little puppies blown in the sea. Last week (with far less powerful storms) a great number of stranded puppy grey seals was found at the beaches of Vlieland and Terschelling. Puppy grey seals wear a thick white fur coat during the first weeks of their live that disables them to swim properly. With their mothers lost, they will starve to death. The Seal Rehabilitation Centre at Pieterburen received a record number (80+) of puppies this week.
The reaction of wise people working at the administration-desks (is there a English word for “beleidsambtenaar”? ) on this drama is the idea of creating “zeehondenvluchtheuvels” (safe heavens - permanent dry – for the seals) by heightening the sands (de Richel and Noorderhaaks – well known places for Dutch sea-kayakers).
It’s getting a bit thick. I have mixed feelings about this suggestion. Of course I don’t like those cute little puppies to be suffering, but they are wild animals living outdoors, in the "Waddenzee", one of the last left places in Western Europe where the coming and going of sands (new land) is a dynamic process arranged by nature, not by man. Shouldn’t we leave that intact? On the other hand: it’s not correct what I say -> everything is man-made in the Netherlands, the whole Dutch coast-line is artificially kept in place by adding each year millions of tons of sand to the system. So why not donating a few tons of sand for thesake of these fascinating animals?
Next idea: “Zeekajakvluchtheuvels”?