Seal-ed with a kiss: Sea Life Sanc­tu­ary makes learn­ing fun

The Oban Times - - News - DAVID McPHEE dm­cphee@oban­times.co.uk

PLAY­ING foot­ball with seals and find­ing crabs in creels are just some of the ac­tiv­i­ties on of­fer at the Sea Life Sanc­tu­ary in Bar­cal­dine.

As well as an in­ter­ac­tive cove, which al­lows chil­dren to learn as they play, the sanc­tu­ary also of­fers sea tours and the chance to feed and play with seals.

The tours are op­er­ated by Paul Mills, who en­ter­tains and in­forms the crowd with his knowl­edge of the wildlife and the area.

On the day I joined Paul, he took his boat from the sanc­tu­ary and our first port of call was a salmon farm, where pas­sen­gers can watch the fish jump and skim across the sur­face of the wa­ter.

From there, Paul took the boat round the many nearby is­lands, all the while keep­ing an eye out for cetaceans such as por­poise and dol­phins, ea­gles and seals.

If the tours prove un­suc­cess­ful in spot­ting wildlife, Paul has backup creels hid­den be­neath the waves, which are of­ten filled with var­i­ous species of crab.

Brid­get Bent­ley from Amer­ica, who was on hol­i­day in Oban and joined the trip, said: ‘ I thought it was very in­for­ma­tive, in­ter­est­ing and fun for the chil­dren – good fam­ily fun and the guide was ex­cel­lent.’

Also on of­fer is a VIP ex­pe­ri­ence with the seals, which is run by Anna Price, who works at the sanc­tu­ary.

With Anna’s sup­port and guid­ance, par­tic­i­pants are in­vited to feed the seals and or­der them to carry out tasks such as fetch­ing hoops, wav­ing, rolling over and drib­bling a foot­ball into the back of a net.

Anna Price said: ‘ It’s a priv­i­lege to work with the an­i­mals and bring mem­bers of the pub­lic in to see them.

‘ I love do­ing it and I never for­get that it’s a priv­i­lege and what peo­ple see, they are never go­ing to for­get – that’s what I love.’

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.vis­it­seal­ife.com/oban or call 01631 720386.

Oban Times re­porter David McPhee, right, gets a kiss from Blue the seal. 17_ t33seal­ife01

A group of hol­i­day­mak­ers set off on a tour. 17_t30seal­ife01

A fam­ily com­pares some of the crabs that came up in the creel. 17_t30seal­ife10

Paul Mills tells a story on one of his sea tours. 17_t30seal­ife03

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