Divers Get Swarmed by 2,000-Pound Sea Lions

In a stunning encounter, divers off the coast of British Columbia found themselves in the middle of a pod of Steller sea lions.

Male sea lions, or bulls, battle each other for space and access to females, and can go 40 days without food in order to maintain their position.

National Geographic wildlife documentarian Bertie Gregory had a similar encounter when he plunged in the water to observe sea lions in their natural habitat, in the waters off Vancouver Island.

First, one bull approached him, toothy mouth open, blowing bubbles.

Male sea lions “usually blow bubbles to say ‘I’m the boss,’” says Gregory, referring to this initial encounter.

“On the face of it, they’re a little threatening. After all, you’re surrounded by a group of big predators that can grow to 11 feet long and weigh 2,000 pounds!” he said in an email.

After their initial show of dominance, the curious critters got playful. Gregory thinks the sea lions began playing once they got used to him and his camera.

“Once you get used to it, they’re generally very friendly,” he said. “They like to bite you a lot to feel what you are, but it’s not aggressive.”

The U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act forbids anyone from approaching a seal-sized marine mammal from a distance of 50 meters or more.

A similar regulation proposed in Canada in 2012 is still being deliberated.

The Canadian law, or “Marine Mammal Regulations,” is primarily aimed at hunters, and its only reference to approaching the animals in the wild is more vague.

According to Prohibitions, “No person shall disturb a marine mammal except when fishing for marine mammals under the authority of these Regulations.”

So as long as their aim was not to disturb the animals, the divers could legally approach them from a closer distance than they would have been able to in the U.S.

Why would the sea lions approach? Gregory says the sea lions are just surveying their territory. “Basically, it’s very normal behavior with Steller sea lions around their haul-out spots,” he explained.

“They use these rocks to rest between fishing trips, so when in the water, they’re just relaxing and socializing. As a result, when you put a diver in the mix, they come and check you out.”

It was likely a similar situation when the divers in the recent video encountered the sea lions, Gregory affirmed.

“I actually just did another set of dives with that same group of sea lions for a different National Geographic project. Exactly the same thing happened!”

While not actually unusual for the area, the experience was unbelievable. The diver in the recent video enthusiastically told the videographer he was doing great, giving an excited OK signal underwater.

Gregory, who spends his life with interesting animals, was no less enthusiastic.

Their friendliness makes swimming with sea lions “like hanging out with a group of giant underwater dogs,” he says.

“It doesn’t feel like they’re being aggressive.”

Their lack of aggression and curiosity makes swimming with sea lions an “absolute magic.”

Related Posts

Family witnesses a 6-foot snake swallowing a bird whole on their clothesline

This is the moment a 6ft carpet python was discovered getting its mouth around an entire bird while dangling from a Queensland family’s washing line. The suspended…

The Komodo Dragon’s Relentless Battle in Its Effort to Steal Python Eggs

Α dгаmаtіс сoпfгoпtаtіoп betweeп two of пatυre’s most fearsome ргedаtoгѕ was сарtᴜгed oп video as a һᴜпɡгу Komodo dragoп attempted to ѕteаɩ hatchliпg eggs from a pythoп’s…

Your heart will stop watching a video of a Komodo dragon devouring a deer

Sυrvival of the fittest is пot jυst a statemeпt bυt the law of пatυre. Predators hυпtiпg prey is a commoп affair bυt this particυlar video of a komodo dragoп…

A massive brown snake with extraordinary strength was found concealed in the backyard of a normal suburban house: I’ve never seen a snake that size

A мassiʋe eastern brown snake tried to fight off a snake catcher trying to capture it after it was spotted lurking in a hoмe in South Australia….

The hunter has second thoughts about include the snake in his meal as the cobra rears up in defense

A cobra and eagle faced a tense Ƅattle Ƅetween dinner and surʋiʋal – with the Ƅird going hungry. Student Rohan S Shandilya, 23, was ʋisiting grassland on…

A huge lizard is observed climbing a power pole in Thailand, and the outcome is unexpected

Α giпormoυs Αsiaп water moпitor lizard was chased υp a commυпicatioп pole by a pack of dogs at a village iп Sara Bυri proviпce, ceпtral Thailaпd, yesterday….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *