Don’t you dare pass through Rockport, Maine without paying respects to Andre the Seal!
Andre was a harbor seal who spent his summers in Rockport Harbor. Andre died in 1986. Today, a marble statue of Andre sits in Rockport Harbor Marine Park. The statue was dedicated to Andre in 1978. He unveiled it himself. The statue is a popular spot for families with young children. Kids enjoy patting the life-sized marble seal, and having their picture taken alongside him. The Rockport Harbor Marine Park is also a great spot for a picnic lunch.
Professional scuba diver, Harry Goodridge, found Andre in 1961, when he was just a pup, and apparently abandoned by his mother. Goodridge kept Andre in a floating pen and entertained summer visitors by having Andre perform tricks. Goodridge set Andre free in the winter, but Andre formed a nasty habit of sinking anchored dinghies and annoying local fishermen, so Goodridge shipped Andre to the New England Aquarium in Boston during the winter. In the spring, Andre was released and he swam 150 miles north to Rockport Maine. He did this each year, and eventually, Andre’s return was an annual event. Eventually, the national media began covering his migration north. When he died, an entire nation mourned.
Andre’s owner, Harry Goodridge, co-wrote a book about Andre, A Seal Called Andre. The 1994 film Andre was a (loose) adaptation of that book. Fran Hodgkins published a newer version of the tale in 2003, Andre the Famous Harbor Seal.