Just a Nibble

August 2, 2019

Carmel, California

In visiting the domain of the sea, you have to accept becoming the ocean's chew toy... Sometimes literally.

Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are usually quite shy, but they can't resist a sneaky fin nibble. Anyone who dives California regularly knows the feeling - you're swimming along your way when suddenly your kick becomes heavy, as if entangled in kelp. You turn around to loosen the hold only to find a silvery seal firmly attached to your foot, gnawing on your fin and slyly gazing up at you as if proud of its mischief.

This little guy was playing a game of underwater tag, swooping in to tug at our fins then gliding away into the murk as soon as we turned around. She stealthily followed us the entire dive, striking when least expected. We'll never really know what they're thinking, but I have no doubt that they're having as much fun inspecting us as we them.

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