Seals and porpoises in Zeeland

In Zeeland, seals and porpoises live in the wild. In the splendid nature, clean water, and all the space and calm they want. They are a fantastic sight, especially when close by. Even the most hardened sailor has got a soft spot for them.

Seals seem to have an ideal life. Lazing around on the beach, soaking up the sun, popping into the water every now and then to grab a fish. With a bit of luck, you’ll see one.

Seals

Seals seem to have an ideal life. Lazing around on the beach, soaking up the sun, popping into the water every now and then to grab a fish. With a bit of luck, you’ll see one.

They live mostly in the outer delta, but you’ll also see them in the Grevelingenmeer lake and in the Westerschelde and Oosterschelde estuaries. At low tide, they like to lie in the sun on sandbanks. The Plompe Toren on Schouwen-Duiveland is one place to see them, with binoculars. Other spots are on the Hooge Platen in the Westerschelde near Breskens. Sometimes it seems that they are looking right at you with those big seal eyes – who knows? As well as binoculars, take a camera along, with a powerful zoom lens. Then you can see from the beach.

In Zeeland there are two kinds of seals. The ‘normal’ one and the grey one. The normal seal is the smaller: the males grow to maximum length of two metres. They have dark marks on their pelt which is coloured grey, dark brown or black. Their head is small, in proportion to their body. A grey seal, on the other hand, can grow up to three metres long. Their nose is straight, and they have two separated nostrils. There’s a nice feel about them.

In Stellendam, there’s a seal sanctuary called ‘A Seal’ – a Dutch play on words, using the word ‘asiel’, which means sanctuary or asylum. They have a great exhibition and you can join in the work as a volunteer seal carer for the day.

Porpoises

Porpoises glide through the water with a sublime elegance. To see them is an experience that makes your holiday unforgettable. Of the whale-like mammals along the Dutch coast, the porpoise is the most frequently seen. You can go porpoise spotting at the water’s edge. The harbour head at Zierikzee is a good lookout post. Several dozen live in the Oosterschelde. They give birth to their calves in the springtime.
You can of course see seals and porpoises when you’re out on the water. Best way. Go out of a ‘seal safari’. The experienced sailors know exactly where to find them. This way, you can see the seals from close up, in their natural setting and without disturbing them. One regular trip departs from the harbour of Burghsluis on the good ship MS-Onrust – you’ll be told all about the Oosterschelde as you sail along. Other boat trips depart from Yerseke Sint-Annaland.