Seal Tattoos Manitowoc WI
Green Bay, WI
Seal Tattoos - The seal is symbol of courage at sea for the Nootka people of the Pacific Northwest. As a creature that moves in water and on land, the seal is a symbol of elemental balance and harmony. The very word 'seal' is likely to conjure up images of the 'performing seal', balancing a ball on its nose, but in fact that's the sea lion, its close relative. The scientific term for both the seal and sea lion is Pinnipeds, meaning 'feather foot' or 'wing foot'.
Seals and sea lions, and their cousin the walrus (famous for its tusks), are found in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and occupy nearly ever marine ecosystem imaginable, from the polar regions of both the North and South Poles, to the sunny Caribbean, to the palm-lined shores of Polynesia. They have evolved to eat fish, crabs and other crustaceans, mollusks, and the leopard seal is a ferocious predator that will go after penguins and other seabirds, in addition to fish. There are few coastal cultures in which seals do not have a myth or story.
Both have seals and sea lions have flippers on all four limbs, but the seal is unable to rotate its hind legs the way the sea lion is able. On land, the seal has to lurch and roll to cover terrain, whereas the sea lion is able to maneuver easily over rocky shores and beaches. But in the water, with its supple and streamlined body, the seal is supreme. Elephant seals have been recorded diving up to 1620 meters in depth (almost a mile beneath the surface) and staying underwater for up to two hours, an extraordinary evolutionary adaptation. The Sperm Whale is the only marine mammal able to dive deeper. The elephant seal is also the largest, and males may weigh up to five tons. During the breeding season, the 8% of males which acquire a harem of females do not feed, and they may lose up to twenty percent of their bodyweight.
Seals and sea lions are apex predators, but must keep a vigil eye open for Orcas - Killer Whales - and large sharks, the Great White, in particular. Seals have been hunted for both their meat, often a welcome addition to a sailor's table, and for their fur, and in some cases certain species have been pushed to the brink of extinction. The legend of the mermaid probably finds its origins in sailors spotting seals far out to sea, and after many months on the open ocean (and one too many tots of rum), imagining them to be beautiful maidens with fish-like tails.
Unlike the sea lion, the seal does not have visible ears, only small openings, giving rise to an association with listening to the inner voice. The sea, in which the seal is so confident and efficient, represents life's inner rhythms.
With its thick layer of blubber, the seal is able to stay warm as it delves deep beneath ice floes to catch fish. In the Nootka creation myth, that fur coat came from Raven, who rewarded Seal for his help in finding a landing spot. The Chinook people have a shape-shifter legend of a boy taking the form...