Rome Point Seals
spotty crop
Seal Watching Tips
    The seals at Rome Point are comfortable and happy with the haul-out site because it is far enough from shore to allow them to feel safe, even in the presence of people on land. The haul-out rocks are over three hundred yards from shore; at that distance, the seals are not readily identifiable to the human eye. It is not possible to stress enough the importance of bringing a spotting scope or binoculars with you on a trip to see the seals. Without binoculars or a scope, you are sure to be disappointed that the seals are so far away.
Guide to Sport Optics
    The best way to observe the seals is to use a spotting scope or low-magnification astronomical telescope. I use a 20x to 60x variable magnification spotting scope; using a scope transforms seal-watching into a truly amazing experience. The close-up photographs on this site were all taken from Rome Point through my scope with a digital camera, so the pictures you see here are the typical views that one sees when observing seals through a scope.  The view through the scope is actually more clear and well focused than the photographs; with a scope, the individual personalities and subtle behaviors of the seals are brought to life in a most compelling and captivating way.      

    If at all possible, buy a scope, borrow a scope, or invite a friend who has a scope to come with you on your seal watching adventure. A spotting scope, or even a cheap astronomical telescope is much better than binoculars for seal watching at Rome Point. I have found that children have an easier time dealing with a scope on a tripod than they do with more cumbersome binoculars. If there is anyone at Rome Point who is using a scope, I recommend politely asking if you can take a look; most wildlife watchers will be glad to share.    

    Binoculars provide good views of the seals, so I always bring my 10x magnification binoculars along on my seal hikes. For seal watching at Rome Point, 10x50 or 10x42 binoculars would be the best choice. 8x magnification or compact binoculars do not have sufficient magnification or brightness for good seal viewing at this distance, although any binoculars are better than the un-aided eye. Binoculars are especially good for observing seals that are swimming or porpoising; look for white splashes in the water as a clue for locating active, swimming seals.

    A camera with a zoom lens is also better than nothing but you will not get close-up shots without a scope or a very long camera lens. A cloudy day or evening light is preferred for high-quality photography, as the optical distortion caused by bright sunlight reflecting off the water will be greatly reduced. At Rome Point, morning light on a sunny day will present challenges to photographers due to glare and back lighting.

Seal Watching Tips and Etiquette