It's not just Otters and Orcas in the seas of Prince William Sound. There are patches of seals sunning themselves on the ice flows as well. This little dude has smugly claimed the best spot on the flow. It's not easy to jockey for position when your primary source of movement out of water is similar to an inchworm. That silly seal smile is well earned.
Seals seem to have a naturally wary expression. The world has not been kind to them. Orcas try to eat them, Polar bears try to eat them. Humans have a history of comitting seal atrocities. Unfortunately those wary looks are also well earned.
The little fella on the left looks the most trusting I think. Curious about what where to get a floaty boat instead of a giant ice cube I suspect.
This is about as warm and cozy as it gets in the life of an Alaska seal -- August. They have to come close to the glacier to find a nice ice shelf to rest on these days. Alaska continues to warm up. In just a few years, there will be nowhere for these little guys to go. 2014 was recorded as the warmest year on record for Alaska. Until 2015. Then it was the warmest year on record. And 2016? Yes, just 4 days ago we posted another warmest day on record at 46 degrees Fahrenheit. Climate change is all abuzz about the devastation that a 2 degree increase in temperature will have. The Arctic is averaging 7 degrees above normal these days. In general, us humans don't like change, particularly change we didn't consciously choose. We aren't going to like life in a warmer world where land masses shrink, droughts and storms ravage and claim more lives -- and let's face it, when the going gets rough international conflicts get worse. Economies crash. But we shy away from the little choices that do change it. The power to make changes in in the small changes of masses of people. You CAN turn out the lights when you leave a room, turn off the tap between the start and finish of brushing your teeth, unplug electronics when not in use, walk a bit more, eat a little less meat. Those little gestures multiplied by 7 billion people can literally change the world (well, the percent of the 7 billion who have running water and electricity at least). You can't control others, but you can do your part...along with all the others who quietly do theirs, it adds up. As for the seals, they can do nothing but look and hope the noisy creatures they see from time to time start making good choices.
But on this day, there was sunshine and a cozy ice flow to enjoy it on. The skies were clear, the views crisp and outstanding. If seals pass down history from generation to generation, they would know that this site has always been a good place to rest ones flippers. The glacier has always been generous, providing a place of refuge. Maybe the seals look up at the mountains, snowcapped peaks, and clear blue skies, and realize they are in a special kind of place. Maybe seals dream of exploring the land far beyond the shore, as humans dream of flight.