Thai Rock Gets Seal of Approval


A little seal heard about the great seafood Pad Thai at Thai Rock, so he decided to pay them a visit before the restaurant closes for a break for the month of February.

On Saturday, January 19, the animal, which Thai Rock owner Robert Kaskel was later told was a yearling harp seal, hauled out onto his dock that serves Rockaway Jetski in the summer.

“It looked like he was tired. He was just sleeping. It looked like he was having a dream and quivering like a dog would do while it’s dreaming. I didn’t know if that was normal, so I called 311 and they said there were no animal protection services open on weekends and they wanted to put me through to 911. I didn’t want to make a 911 call for a seal. But I contacted the precinct and had police come over and they’re all like, ‘that’s so cute.’ Even the harbor unit came over and said there are a lot of seals in the bay right now. They see them all over the marshlands and this one just found my dock and decided to rest.”

Kaskel says the Riverhead Foundation, which often deals with distressed marine mammals in the area, told him that the seal was perfectly healthy and its behavior was normal. They referred to the seal’s “banana position,” in which it is curved, as being a great sign. After a good nap, the seal went on its way. “By the time we closed for the night, he returned to the sea,” Kaskel said.

As mentioned by the harbor unit, seals are becoming more and more common in the bay. As reported in the January 4 edition of The Rockaway Times, Dan Mundy Jr. of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, also took some photos of seals hanging around the marshlands near Broad Channel. He attributes the deep waters of Jamaica Bay and a healthy herring population, which is keeping the seals full. The seals are also often seen on the beach.

If you happen to see a seal on the bay or the beach, keep your distance as to not disturb it. Federal law says to stay at least 150 feet away. Seals do not need to be in the water and it is a common practice for them to haul out on the beach or other land to rest.  If a seal does happen to be in distress, report it to the Riverhead Foundation by calling (631) 369-9829.