It is always a privilege when a wild animal decides to approach and play with you on a dive. Seals very often are curious about the bubble producing humans that invade their world. It is amazing to watch their agility in the water, but it is also great to see the reaction from divers who, for them, it is a first seal encounter. The seals puppy like appearance with big eyes and playful manner appeals to everyone.
That was the case last May here at Oceanaddicts when two Instructor interns form Kerry College were with us on work experience. Here is what they said.
“What a dive!! First time seeing a seal so close to me, this seal was so playful and friendly! They seem to really enjoy blue fins and we even caught one on camera being playful and curious with one of the instructors fins! What an experience “
One of my first times scuba diving in Kinsale with OceanAddicts dive centre, we went to a dive site called East Tractor. There’s a resident seal there that was very playful. Accompanying us on the dive, the seal seemed very curious and attention-seeking, reminding me of a puppy. He was very interested in our fins and kept trying to bite them playfully, though he didn’t do it hard enough to leave any marks.
The two seal species found in Ireland are the grey seal and the harbour seal, also known as the common seal. Male seals are known as bulls and females are known as cows. Seals are often referred to as the ‘acrobats of the sea’ due to their agility in the water, which can be seen clearly in the video. We were undoubtedly lucky to have the opportunity to dive with such an interesting, beautiful animal, and fortunately we’ve seen him hanging around in the same spot since so hopefully he’ll stick around in Kinsale for the summer.
A fun fact, the Irish word for jellyfish is Smugairle Róin, which can be translated to mean seal snot!