Magical Seal Encounters

Today was without a doubt one of the most magical dives of my life. It is difficult to describe how special it feels to have the privilege of experiencing these beautiful animals underwater. Although Weddell seals are well built to withstand the extreme cold of life on the sea ice, up there they look anything but graceful. It’s hard to imagine those big gray sausages could ever move this quickly, or spin around so delicately with so much control. Any time I’ve seen a seal underwater it has been special, particularly when we get to hear them vocalizing. I will never not be blown away by the otherworldly sound of their voices.

That being said, today was different. Multiple curious seals came to visit us throughout the dive, but one in particular stuck around for at least 10 minutes. It seemed that it saw it’s own reflection in the dome port of the camera Rowan was using to capture video (and the video she managed to get is incredible!). It swirled upside down, right side up, and sideways over and over. It couldn’t get enough of that good-looking seal.

For a very brief moment, it took interest in me and my camera, but ultimately decided Rowan was much more fun.

Soon after, another seal came by to visit as well. It was especially fun on this dive to take in the differences between each seal – differences in their faces and patterns and also in their personalities and moods.

All the while, other creatures sat below us on the seafloor, and although it was hard to look away from the seals, I’m glad to have captured some moments with them as well. Each animal, big and small, is to be appreciated. Although you need to look at a sea star for longer to notice beauty in the way sea stars move, the march of thousands of tube feet, carrying a comparatively massive five-armed body is a beautiful thing as well.

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