Got inspired recently by one of my local dive buddies, Greg Amptman, who had a great encounter after a dive with some harbor seals... and it turned my opinion around on them totally.
Check out my video to see why:
I was trying to find a good way to access Children's Pool from the ocean since the entire beach is closed to humans through May due to breeding season. You can enter at Casa beach, but the tide better be calm or you're going to get shredded making your way around the rocks and into the cove.
I settled on Shell Beach. It's very rocky and also has the potential to tear you up on rocks, but for me once you're in, it seems less risky to actually get to prime spots. In fact, a lot of spear fishermen enter here since the area to the north is off limits as the protected Marine Reserve. This is one such fisherman making the seagulls' day by cleaning his catch on shore.
These harbor seals are the ones most likely to nibble your fins and mess with you when you're ending a Cove dive and making the hard swim back in to shore, which is just when you have the least patience for their antics!
I've always vastly preferred hanging with the sea lions, which I've felt are more predictable and - unless it's a male during breeding season - less likely to pester you when you're lumbering around at their mercy with all your dive gear on... an interloper in their world.
That all changed on this solo dive. It's so exciting when you have a positive new animal encounter and feel that you've not only made a new kind of friend, but discovered the treasures of a whole new species you didn't even know existed. How had I doubted how delightful harbor seals could be? These babes (and their mothers) really turned me around.
Free-diving fun ~ this dive is definitely easier if you don't have a big tank and weights to haul around!
We even brought the kids back for a great low-tide exploration.
The clarity of the water on this day was stunning ~
I hope you enjoyed these little nuggets as much as I did...
... and I hope to bring you more stunning footage of them soon!
Thanks for looking :)