Pinnipeds: The Puppies of the Sea

Fall is the right time of year to enjoy the company of playful young sea lions.  By August or September, these young pinnipeds have grown past infancy and are entering the playful “puppy” stage of their lives.  I have enjoyed several dives lately where the curious little guys came to pay me a visit.


At first he is shy, keeping his distance and just watching the divers.  A group of sea lions see us from the surface and watch us jump into the water, then they stick their heads under the surface to see what we are doing under there.


Pretty soon, curiosity gets the better of this little guy and he comes in for a closer look.


After a while, the sea lion starts to think of you as one of it’s playmates.  It starts swimming in front of you and holds various poses, all the while keeping eye contact with you.


Sometimes they start blowing bubbles as they swim past.  It seems they are mimicking the scuba divers.


This sea lion began to get a little rambunctious in his play, displaying his teeth, much like young dogs when they wrestle with their siblings.


  If this sea lion had been a large male, I would have felt threatened, but since he was just a few months old, it was hard to take him seriously.


Eventually, it is time for us to surface and say goodbye.  The sea lions watch us until we are completely out of the water, as if they yearn for us to stay.  To tell the truth, I wish I could!

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My photographs are taken with a Nikon  D810 in Sea and Sea Housing using two YS-D1 Strobes.
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Lion Around

This week I fell in love with sea lions.  These magnificent, playful, dog-like creatures are truly one of the wonders of the sea.  Curious as soon as they hear a diver’s splash into the water, they come over to investigate our weird fins, and huge camera equipment.  Since all of us have dome ports, the sea lions are extra curious. They can look at their reflections, and continually come down to gaze at themselves in front of the camera lens.  At times, I wonder if they are posing for me, or just checking out their poses of themselves.

Sea lion gazes at his reflection in the camera housing's dome port.

Sea lion gazes at his reflection in the camera housing’s dome port.

It takes a little while for them to get comfortable with us, but when they do, they start to dance and play in the water around us.

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Before long, they begin to interact with the divers.

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One of the things that I can’t help laughing about is their attempts to mimic the bubbles we blow through our regulators.




This young lion was fascinated with either me or it’s reflection, and tried out several different poses in front of the lens.


It was one of the funnest dives I have had in a long time.  Kind of like spending the day with your dog in the park.  In the end, I think all of us were satisfied.