The best pieces of advice I ever gave myself

A day spent with the seals in Hel

Posted on Posted in Black girl series, experience, foreigner, people

I had heard so much about Hel and about how calm and peaceful it was there. It seemed like a perfect picturesque place to relax. Hel is a small town in the Puck County in Pomeranian Voivodeship on the Baltic coast.
During a very busy week, a friend and I decided to go to Tricity to relax during the weekend and spend some time in Hel.
When we arrived in Hel, it was quite depressing and didn’t look so charming and we felt somewhat let down. However as the day went on, the weather got better and so did the view and our spirits. We happily walked along the pretty streets drinking in the view of charming looking cottages, lots and lots of tattooed bikers, colourful things on sale displayed in the many street markets, the restaurants everywhere with the smell of fish and confectioneries and of course the gorgeous looking clear blue sea. The sea was so magnificent that staring at it (in my case) could make all your worries fade away!

We had also planned to visit the well-known man-made natural reserve (sanctuary) for seals called fokarium. Seals are semi-aquatic mammals that are in a group called pinnipeds, meaning "fin-footed." We got there about 30 minutes early before the feeding time (as that is the most interesting time to visit) and got to stand in the front row.
For the first 30 minutes, we watched them swimming around and snorting in the water. Some were blowing out huge amounts of disgusting looking mucus. Some were hopping up on the banks around them and “crawling” around before jumping back into the water. Eventually, the time for feeding arrived and the wardens appeared with buckets of fish.  One of the wardens gave a rather long speech in Polish that neither I nor my friend really understood. I guess she was talking about the need to preserve these animals from predators. I had wondered why the feeding time was said to be the most interesting time to visit. Finally, I had my answer as the seals were being fed the fish. The seals put up a show by following the instructions of the wardens. They were called by their names, asked to move back, forward, left, right, flip over which they obeyed and were rewarded with fish. Also when called, they would mimic the actions of the wardens and of course, also be rewarded with fish. I was impressed by how intelligent they were!!!
This was definitely the highlight of my visit to Hel.

I have included a video showing the photos of Hel and of course, the seals. Enjoy!!!

 

Hel and the performance by the seals


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