16 Feb 2003

At 11.30 we turned onto the beach road and at this early stage, already 20 cars had turned up for the release. I wondered why none were out walking the beach. As soon as I opened the door I knew why. It was bitterly cold and a near gale blowing off the sea. Time for an extra jacket. By noon, a couple of hundred people had turned up on this quiet, out of the way beach. Still very few ventured from the warmth of the car. Numerous photographers and the News crew from TV3 also arrived. By 12.15pm the Seal Ambulance along with "Hobbs" had arrived.

It was another cold miserable November night when 3 local children found a small injured seal on the beach. Christened "Hobbs", they sat with him till someone from the Sanctuary arrived. "Hobbs" has now spent over 3 months at the Sanctuary and it is now time to go home! But, it's a different "Hoobs" to the one that arrived in the Sanctuary that November night. No longer underweight and suffering injuries, he is now in prime condition and ready to be reintroduced to the sea.

By 12.30pm the release area is marked out with seaweed. The crowd are lining up and the ambulance has dispatched the seal box, which local children have carried it the last few hundred metres to the release site. Over a thousand hardy souls are now braving the elements to watch "Hobbs" go home. After speeches by Trevor Sargant (Leader of the Green Party) and Michael O'Kennedy (Fingal Co. Co.), the three boys who found the seal open the box. Facing the wrong way, "Hobbs" quickly turns and after a few moments, makes his way to one side of the crowd. From here he quickly makes for the sea and once he hits the water, quickly disappears.

Like all the seals released this year into the Irish Sea, "Hobbs" has a spot of yellow paint on his head. This is to enable us to monitor his progress over the first few weeks back at sea until he reintegrates with wild seals. This will wear off in a few weeks. If you spot a "yellow-headed" seal at sea over the next few weeks, do get in touch with us at the Sanctuary.




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