Seal diving: Wollongong, Australia

Gone seal diving:

seal diving
Australian fur seal

The day started off brilliant. We’d gotten in early and booked a seal dive with Abyss Scuba Dives. After a quick stop at the dive shop to kit up, we were off to Wollongong Harbour for our double boat seal diving trip! The seals here migrate along the coast in the winter, to mate and pup. The Australian fur seal is the fourth rarest seal in Australian waters. The males can reach 360 kg, but the females are much smaller, clocking in at 110 kg.  They are a dark brown in colour, and besides their much larger size, you can distinguish the males by their mane of coarse hair. We are assured that seal diving is not dangerous and that the animals themselves are extremely friendly and inquisitive.

As soon as the boat comes into view the seals will all jump into the water in a mad rush. They want to play!

Out on the boat, the conditions are perfect, with a soft swell, blue skies above. As soon as we’re in the water, the seals are all around us, bobbing about curiously, swimming gracefully, eyeing us off. In the water they are fast, sleek and powerful, trailing bubbles as they swim around. Our instructor has told us to entertain them,

If you just sit there taking photos they’ll get bored and swim away

so we blow bubbles at them, make noises, reach out to them with gloved hands, throw star fish shapes. A few daring seals dart towards us, then veer away at the last minute, leaving us in their dust. They look like they’re flying underwater. The experience is uplifting, comical, and magical. Watch the video below, and judge for yourself:

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