Fur seals are very agile partly because of the arrangement
of their flippers, and partly because being essentially
sub-Antarctic seals, they don't have as much
blubber as other types.
They have a surprising turn of
speed and can venture some distance inland. A first
encounter with fur seals, particularly if there
are lots of them, is often very disconcerting. They
begin by making a plaintive "pouff pouff"
sound as you get close and then may make a short
charge and lunge.
Once you get used to them however,
they are great characters and great fun, like having
big bouncy dogs about that want to have fun but
aren't really sure of whether you do or if you
might be a threat. They still have to be treated
with respect though a bite would be especially unpleasant
as they have a particularly rich and unpleasant
bacterial collection that live in their mouths.
"Sealers finger" was
a common affliction in the bad old days when a sealer
got too close, the resulting infection would mean
the loss of the use of that finger (serves 'em
These two pictures come from one
afternoon when I was walking along the sea-shore
where there were young fur seals. This particular
seal followed me for about 20 minutes or so as we
played a game of peek-a-boo, him in the sea and
me behind the rocks. He might look a bit manic,
but it was all great fun.
I'd hide behind a rock and
he's wander up and down making the pouff-pouff
sound then I'd jump out from the rock and he'd
leap into the sea in mock panic. A couple of powerful
strokes of the flippers and he'd turn back round,
shoot out of the sea and land virtually at my feet
- my turn to leap away in (not always mock) panic.
A wonderful experience with a totally wild animal
and one of many that I had with fur seals.
On another occasion, I played
chase on my hands and knees in soft snow with a
young seal. Wonderful animals! Can't have enough
Photo; © Paul
Ward - Pentax equipment, 100mm lens, 35mm film,
This picture may not be copied or used
in any manner without prior written permission.