Saturday 3rd November 2001

Another glorious November day: blue skies & sunshine.
After leaving Dublin at the crack of dawn, Our Organization volunteers (Kevin, Ruth, Deirdre and Paul) followed Jean Norris to Ballisodare Beach. Having stopped a couple of times to check on welfare of the seals being released today, Cara & Louise, they still managed to get to Ballisodare by noon.

Prior to their arrival, you could feel the excitement of the people building, especially the children who were practically dancing in anticipation. As the vans pulled in to place, the people gathered around to get a glimpse of Cara & Louise. The boxes were unloaded and placed on the ground allowing everybody a chance to see the seals.

Kevin O'Hare introduced Cara & Louise to the people and gave some general information about seals. He also gave the people information about the fax campaign we are running and the majority of people were interested in participating.

With the introductions over, it was time to carry the boxes closer to the water. It was not a long distance but it felt like 10 miles because of the newly-gained weight of Cara & Louise. Particularly Louise.
But the people were very helpful and we soon got both charges close to the water.

Cara being carried across the beach at Ballisodare

Everybody was relieved when we finally reached the waters edge. The honour of opening the boxes was given to Jean & Louise, who found the seals.

The countdown began. 10.....9.....8.....7....6....5...4...3..2..1...the boxes opened....the crowd cheered....Cara & Louise peeped out but didn't seem very interested in moving. After a little look around at all the people cheering them and a sniff of the air, they began moving towards the sea. It wasn't long before the became distracted & Louise started heading back to the box while Cara went to inspect the people. They were guided back towards the sea & soon the race was back on again.

They finally made it to the water and were tentative at first but as soon as they realised what lay ahead, they were off. The crowd cheered and clapped as the seals swam about, ducking their heads under the water.

They were watched until they disappeared and could be seen no more. The volunteers from Our Organization, who had worked with Cara & Louise watched with poignant looks on their faces; they were sad to see them go but were happy that they had survived so far and were being given their freedom.

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