Tuppenny the Seal makes himself comfortable on the kayak at Whitecliff Bay. Pictures by Nikki Jayne.
A SUN-LOVING seal took a break from swimming to catch some rays on board a passing kayak in Bembridge this week.
Tuppenny the Seal has become a regular visitor to Whitecliff Bay, where he was named after the Tuppenny Beach Cafe.
Cafe-goer Nikki Jayne, 41, of York Avenue, East Cowes, said: "He just popped up and climbed aboard. The kayaker didn't do anything to encourage him and was a bit worried about getting him off. He was on for about an hour and then just dived off.
"It was amazing to see."
Marine wildlife experts from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) have issued advice to Islanders about contact with seals.
Stephen Voight, of the BDMLR, said: "However docile and friendly the animal may look, it is a wild animal and therefore unpredictable, especially when it is stressed by unwanted attention when it wants to rest on land – seals actually spend more time out of the water than in it.
"The infection caused by a seal bite results in a serious and painful condition called 'Seal Finger’.
"This affects the joints and if untreated may result in the need for amputation. If anyone is bitten or scratched, they must seek immediate treatment however small the bite and as general antibiotics do not work, a course of Tetracyline is the only known cure currently. Seals are mammals and other diseases can be transferred to humans and dogs quite easily, so contact should be avoided. This works the other way as well, as we can inadvertently transfer diseases to them through contact.
"Volunteers for British Divers Marine Life Rescue are trained on how to approach and handle marine wildlife to reduce the chance of harm to the animals and to themselves. Unless an animal needs attention it should be left alone and observed from a safe distance that will not change its behaviour and observers should remain quiet and keep any dogs on a lead and away from the seal. This will allow you and others to enjoy the experience for longer without putting yourself, or the animal at risk."
Pictures courtesy of Nikki Jayne.