East Bay Times: Alameda: Seals, lots and lots of them, are gathering, December 29, 2016


Harbor seals like their new lounging spot at Alameda Point, if the numbers are anything to go by.

Forty-nine of the notoriously shy creatures, which monitors say was a record, were sunning themselves on the specially-built floating platform on Christmas Eve.

“We are thrilled that it has turned out to be a success,” said Richard Bangert, who worked to get the platform installed because the seals’ previous gathering location — an old dock that had partly fallen into the water — was going to be removed to make way for a new ferry maintenance and operations center.

What worried Bangert and other fans of the seals was whether the pinnipeds, as marine biologists call them, would gather on the $68,000 platform after the dock was gone. But since the platform arrived in July the seals have come, more and more of them, delighting those who campaigned for it.

“The numbers can vary during the year,” said Mark Klein, an Alameda resident and former volunteer at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. “They can sometimes taper off during June and July, when there’s maybe 10 or so. But 26 of them were on the platform at one time in November.”