On November 10, the M/V Alletta Morris will depart from Bowen’s Ferry Landing into Newport Harbor, kicking off Newport’s 18th Save The Bay Seal Tour season.
The nonprofit environmental organization offers two types of tours from Newport: a one-hour, boat-based seal tour, and a two-hour cruise including a tour of the Rose Island lighthouse (starting November 17). These one-of-a-kind fall and wintertime excursions offer passengers of all ages the opportunity to experience the beauty of Newport Harbor, catch spectacular views of the Pell Bridge, learn the history of local structures and see Rhode Island’s state mammal, the harbor seal, in its natural environment. Tours will be held on weekends and public school holidays and vacation days from November 10-April 28.
“Harbor seals are the most common marine mammal in New England,” said Save The Bay Captain Eric Pfirrmann in a news release announcing the upcoming season recently. “They are roughly human-sized with a cute puppy-dog face, and we generally see them resting ‘hauled out’ on rocks or in a ‘bottling’ position, floating upright like a glass bottle. We are careful not to get so close that we disrupt them, so we provide passengers with binoculars to bring the seals into perfect detail.”
Save The Bay offers Seal Tours and Nature Cruises from October through April—when harbor seals migrate south into local waters for food. Save The Bay’s partially-covered, 30+ passenger vessels and binoculars allow visitors to observe winter seals in their natural habitat. During the tours, Save The Bay marine experts provide expert narration of local wildlife and Narragansett Bay history.
One-hour Newport Seal Tours are $22 for non-members; $17 for Save The Bay members, seniors, and children aged 3-12; and free for children under 3. Two-hour Seal and Lighthouse Tours are $47 for non-members; $37 for Save The Bay members and seniors and children aged 3-12; and free for children under 3. All tours depart from Bowen’s Ferry Landing, 18 Market Square, Newport, R.I. 02840.
While Newport’s tours begin on November 10, Westerly’s Nature Cruises are already underway. These 90-minute tours cruise down the Pawcatuck River into Little Narragansett Bay, allowing passengers to enjoy the autumnal landscape while on the lookout for a variety of local wildlife— from herons and hawks to, of course, harbor seals.
Tickets, gift certificates, and more information on all Save The Bay’s Seal Tours and Nature Cruises are available at 401-203-SEAL(7325) or savebay.org/seals.