Ross: Woman bit by seal near San Juan Island ‘still loves seals’

Aug 22, 2023, 7:57 AM

seal bit san juan...

FILE-A harbor seal looks around in Casco Bay in this July 30, 2020 file photo off Portland, Maine. A research team at Colgate University has developed SealNet, a facial recognition database of seal faces created by taking pictures of dozens of harbor seals in Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, Files)

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, Files)

Last Friday, Dana Halter, a published author, a mom, and a triathlete, was making her annual deep-water swim in the San Juans, circumnavigating tiny Trump Island, and she was a mile in, battling rough seas, when her escort in the rowboat noticed she had company.

DANA: “[My escort boat] said, ‘Did you see there’s a harbor seal following you?’ And I said ‘No,'” Dana said. “And at that exact moment, the seal bit my shin, and it was an incredibly painful, very deep bite. Then she just took off.”

More from Dave Ross: Robodrivers are being held accountable more than people

This had to be a terrible misunderstanding because Dana strikes me as a really nice person. She’s been on excellent terms with the harbor seal, and even played with one of them during a swim near Golden Gardens.

“I was swimming and saw a flash of silver below me, and it actually was a harbor seal playing with me, doing barrel rolls,” she said.

She loves seals.

“They remind me of dogs,” Dana said. “They’re so lovely.”

And the only explanation she has for the attack is that the seal was, like her, a Mom.

“She was like, ‘please get away from my child,’ and she got her wish because I have never swam so fast,” Dana said.

Dana broke her own record for the ten-stroke dash, hauled herself into the rowboat, and headed for the Emergency Room in Anacortes.

Eight stitches. Which are coming out today.

Dana plans to take it easy for two weeks, but she intends to be back in the water.

So this morning, I am asking all of you marine life whisperers, and I know you are out there, please spread the word that Dana is a friend, she means no harm to any harbor seal pups, she’s just out to get a little exercise.

“I still love seals,” she said. “I still think seals are terrific.”

By the way, since I know it will come up, the island she was circumnavigating is indeed named Trump Island, but he doesn’t own it, and there’s no family connection.

Although some of the defensiveness may have rubbed off on the local wildlife.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

KIRO Newsradio Opinion

FILE - The company logo shines off the hood of a 2021 K5 sedan on display in the Kia exhibit at the...

Micki Gamez

Gamez: What to know after recall issued for Kia, Hyundai vehicles over fires

Hyundai and Kia are recalling nearly 3.4 million vehicles in the U.S. and telling owners to park them outside due to the risk of engine compartment fires.

4 hours ago

girls phones teach...

Colleen O'Brien

Colleen: Young girls and phones and the patterns we teach

I spoke to New York Times reporter Jessica Bennett, who studied 13-year-old girls for a year, to learn more about their relationship with phones

11 hours ago


Ursula Reutin

Ursula: Does grammar still matter? Not according to UW

Jake Harper found that the University of Washington's Informatics department doesn't grade on grammar in students' applications.

12 hours ago

republican debate...

Dave Ross

Ross: The highs and lows of the second 2024 Republican debate

As you’ve heard by now, there was considerable chaos during last night’s debate, including an argument between Tim Scott and Nikki Haley over the expensive curtains in her office.

1 day ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Gee goes off on kids who don’t call or text their parents back

Gee goes off on kids not texting their parents back! We’ve also heard of some new phone etiquette rules, which are: 1) Text before you call 2) Don’t bother with voicemail, just send a text 3) Don’t get upset if someone doesn’t pick up your call. 4) Facts are for texts, emotions are for calls. […]

2 days ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Why are electric scooters being banned from Tacoma and is Seattle next?

Tacoma will be banning electric rental scooters, will this come to Seattle next? How do we feel about electric scooters?

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Ross: Woman bit by seal near San Juan Island ‘still loves seals’