We were in the parking lot of Ocean Edge Resort in Brewster, Mass., in late August when we struck up a conversation with a man who was also taking an inordinately long time to pack up his car. We were trying to decide which Cape Cod ocean beach to visit, and I had heard that some of them had seals. And, as I’ve written here and here, I just love seals. So when the man told us that he saw lots of seals at Coast Guard Beach, a beach that’s part of the National Seashore, I knew we had to go.
Coast Guard Beach is in Eastham, and it’s a little harder to get to because you have to take a shuttle to the parking lot. (The daily parking fee is $20 but you can purchase an annual pass for $60.) As we were heading down to the beach, I was worried that the seals wouldn’t be there because I don’t always have the best luck with wildlife.
Our timing (approx 11:30 am) was perfect because the seals were just arriving, and a crowd was gathering on the beach to watch them. There were easily 40 seals, and I was mesmerized by watching them bob up and down in the water. Sometimes they would swim through the waves. It was really incredible for a seal lover. My 4-year-old son was impressed too, to a point. My 18-month-old daughter was non-plussed.
It’s not a good idea to swim when seals are in the water because seals attract sharks. And sure enough, there was a shark sighting so everyone was ordered out of the water. Then fishing boats appeared to try to catch the shark, but the shark swam off so they left too. All summer long, I had seen viral videos of seals and sharks having dramatic fights, but nothing of the sort happened. The seals kept doing their thing, and if we waited long enough to low tide, supposedly they would come hang out at the sandbar. But lunch (lobster rolls, fried clams, hot dogs and grilled cheese) and mini-golf at Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar was calling us, which happens to be not only the closest eatery but one of the best on the Cape. I wanted to return after lunch to see if the seals would be on the sandbar, but alas the kids were too tired so we drove down to Provincetown so they could nap in the car.