Kayaker records seal swimming in Hudson River

Regional News

ATHENS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Travel photographer Derek Brown snaps amazing photos from all over the globe. But during the coronavirus pandemic, he has been staying much closer to his waterfront home in the Village of Athens in Greene County.

Kayaking along the Hudson River he captures the landscape and animal life with his camera.

“I’ve seen a couple of beavers, a couple of otters….”

But while out on his most recent paddling excursion, he spotted something quite out of place.

“[It] jumped out of the water, which I got lucky enough to catch video of. It just kept on interacting with me and swam around the boat and under the boat.The second time it jumped out of the water it looked back at me to make sure I was watching. It was really cool.”

It was a seal.

He didn’t have his camera, but he did have his cellphone, which he used to record the seal as it rode the waves alongside Derek’s kayak.

“Really did feel like it was kind of a friend of mine. Like a really curious water dog of some sort.”

Seals are pretty rare this far away from the ocean and this far north up the Hudson. But the marine mammals do make an appearance from time to time.

In 2015, a seal nicknamed Wrong Way Charlie became trapped in a lock in Halfmoon. He was captured, tagged and released into the Atlantic Ocean.

Satellite tracking found him exploring off the coast of Rhode Island and beyond.

Derek said he’s been out on the water hundreds of times over the past couple of years, and this was his first seal sighting.

“I noticed that every time I look at the water, I am looking for little blips. I am not sure when that will stop, but it’s the first thing on my mind now.”

As for whether or not he will ever meet up again with his friend from the sea, Derek said it’s unlikely.

But maybe his seal is just busy hanging out with another friend named Charlie.  

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