FISHERS ISLAND, N.Y. (WTNH) — It’s been a while since Capt. Jim McCauley has been at the helm of Project Oceanology’s Enviro Lab 3.
Project Oceanology’s Seal Watch Tours made a dry-run Friday to Fishers Island in preparation for the tours resuming Saturday.
“We’re heading across Fishers Island Sound to see some seals this afternoon,” said Capt. McCauley, who is the Executive Director of Project Oceanology.
All of last year’s seal watch, summer, and sunset cruises were canceled because of the pandemic.
“Everyone’s been really anxious to get into this again,” said the captain.
While on board, crewmembers performed their quarterly safety training, making sure they’re prepared to keep passengers safe in every scenario.
They can all expect though to get a clear view of the winter visitors, who often fight for their place on the rocks off of Fishers Island.
“Sometimes, if it’s like a nice calm day we’ll actually hear them making grunting noises and kind of telling each other off,” Marine Science Educator Marissa Gustafson said.
Passengers often take an active part on the cruises and even get some hands-on experience with the marine life.
“Everyone who comes on board is given a set of binoculars and a data-sheet if they like,” said Gustafson.
Because of the pandemic protocols, these cruises run at half capacity, which is about 28 passengers. Normally if this boat was filled with those people, there’s not a lot of room to social distance because of the size of the boat, so everyone has to wear their masks at all times.
Space on the seal watches filled up quickly, but there’s still room on the summer and sunset cruises as well as Project O’s summer camps for students. Find out more at Oceanology.org.