Seal jumps onto boat as rower paddles along River Orwell

A seal boarded Terry Davey's boat in the River Orwell.

A seal boarded Terry Davey's boat in the River Orwell. - Credit: Archant

A 71-year-old rower was joined by an unexpected companion while taking on a life-long dream to scull solo from Woodbridge to Ipswich in a boat of his own design and building.

A seal boarded Terry Davey's boat in the River Orwell.

A seal boarded Terry Davey's boat in the River Orwell. - Credit: Archant

While pausing for a biscuit in the lower reaches of the River Orwell on Sunday afternoon, Terry Davey was approached by a curious grey seal that rested its head on one of his oars.

After making some “encouraging noises”, the daring creature hauled itself on board the boat, said Mr Davey, who is the founding member of Deben Rowing Club in Woodbridge.

The animal clambered on and off around 10 times before calmly settling down on the aft deck and allowing itself to be rowed along while enjoying the sunshine.

“There were many big yachts circling around and taking pictures,” said Mr Davey, of Felixstowe. “I have never known one to be that bold before. It almost went to sleep at one point.”

Terry Davey

Terry Davey - Credit: Archant


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Mr Davey said he has twice had boats boarded by grey squirrels during his long rowing career but the grey seal was by far the better companion on his solitary voyage.

The journey, which went from Woodbridge via Felixstowe Ferry and Harwich harbour then up the River Orwell to Ipswich, was completed in just less than five hours.

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“I was knackered by the end of it but I feel the seal has stolen my thunder,” Mr Davey added.

A seal boarded Terry Davey's boat in the River Orwell.

A seal boarded Terry Davey's boat in the River Orwell. - Credit: Archant

A seal boarded Terry Davey's boat in the River Orwell.

A seal boarded Terry Davey's boat in the River Orwell. - Credit: Archant

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