If ever there were a whale of a tale, it’s got to be the story of Shoebert the Seal. Last fall, Shoebert became a social media sensation after taking up residence in a local pond in Beverly, Massachusetts. Shoebert, a 230-pound gray seal, arrived in the Bass River before somehow swimming into the culvert connecting the river with Shoe Pond.
Word of Shoebert the Traveling Seal’s presence in the pond spread rapidly, and soon residents of Beverly and surrounding towns were flocking to see Shoebert the Seal. He quickly became a local celebrity, and news outlets across the country covered the story. The community embraced Shoebert the Seal as their mascot, even going so far as to create Shoebert-themed attire, cookies, and costumes — and, of course, they gave him plenty of attention on social media.
As Shoebert attracted crowds of spectators, he meanwhile evaded the well-meaning help of several agencies, including Beverly Police, local animal patrol, and a team from Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. The hope was that Shoebert the Traveling Seal would migrate back to the ocean on his own, but apparently, Shoebert was enjoying his “vacation” a little too much. Rescue teams began coordinating efforts to plan a relocation for Shoebert in the event he began to overstay his welcome in Shoe Pond.
The call of adventure came again for Shoebert one rainy, windy day when he ventured out of the pond through a nearby shopping center parking lot. Rescue teams loaded up their gear, with plans to facilitate the relocation while Shoebert was more accessible out of the water. However, Shoebert journeyed back into the water before the stranding teams could make a move.
Although Shoebert showed some curiosity for the humans, even circling the rowboat in which rescuers were surveying the pond, the rescue attempts were unsuccessful that day.
The teams planned to return the next day, and as you might have guessed, Shoebert once again had other ideas. He ventured out of the water again, traveling a few hundred yards all the way to the doorstep of Beverly Police. Local responders were able to corral Shoebert into a kennel, and Mystic Aquarium safely transported him to their facilities for a veterinary exam. Days later, Shoebert got the go-ahead for a release back into the wild, equipped with a satellite tag that tracked his movements. If you’re wondering, “Where is Shoebert the Seal now?”. Eventually, Shoebert migrated back to the north shore of Massachusetts.
Interestingly enough, this wasn’t Shoebert’s first encounter with Mystic Aquarium. Evidently, Mystic’s staff recognized the scarring on Shoebert’s face and realized they had met the seal before when they rescued him off Cape Cod four years prior. At the time, they named him Jekyll and released him back into the wild in good health.
Shoebert’s story became an inspiration to many. His journey is a testament to the adaptability of wildlife and their ability to survive even in the most unlikely environments. It also reminds us of the importance of protecting our natural habitats and the wildlife that call them home.
Here at Harbor Breeze Cruises, it gives us great joy to share the wonder of marine life with our guests. We offer more whale-watching tours than any other company in the area, with experienced captains who will narrate every step of the way.