Charlie and the seals

January 20, 2014 • 2:04 am

By Matthew Cobb

Never mind Attenborough and the gorillas, here’s Charlie and the elephant seal. Irish journalist Charlie Bird was filming in Antarctica when he got very close to two elephant seal juveniles. The result was squeesome and I am very jealous of Charlie. On the other hand, it probably wouldn’t have gone so well with an adult male…

h/t @lecanardnoir

15 thoughts on “Charlie and the seals

  1. Wonderful! But I just wonder, is there not a risk that we pass them human diseases if we are in such close proximity? Perhaps less so than close contact with great apes…?

  2. That was his documentary on Tom Crean, well worth looking up Tom Crean but the documentary by Charlie wasn’t the best(he clearly didn’t enjoy altitude and it showed).

  3. My very beloved hobby is scuba diving. Seal and sea lion encounters are one of the most enjoyable experiences in this sport. The Channel Islands off southern California is where I sometimes get a chance to dive, and such encounters are commonplace there. A whole colony will leave the beach to join divers from a newly anchored dive boat. They love to “play” – their behaviour very similar to that of a neighbours friendly and enthusiastic dog when you’re visiting that neighbours house. One of my favourite underwater experiences is “playing ball” with a seal. You stop at the bottom and pick up a small rock off the seabed and let it sink back down. The seal in turn copies your action. The game goes on for minutes. What makes these intelligent animals behave in this fashion is a total mystery, but for the diver it’s a totally unforgettable happening.

    1. I had a similar adventure years ago with sea lions, while snorkeling off of an island in the Gulf of California. Just like a nature documentary, only what is not conveyed in those documentaries was that the water was a colloidal suspension of sea lion poo. I still hold it as an awesome experience.

    2. I was once joined by a sea lion when I was swimming in the Pacific. I’d only just dropped into the water from the boat’s stern when the sea lion floated by on his (or her) back, with its flippers folded peacefully on its chest. I got a bit of a fright, but it was easily apparent that the animal meant me no harm. I have a lingering memory of the way the animal smelled–like when Evil yawns in my face, only worse. Much, much, worse.

      1. I recall as well it was the cows that ‘played’ with us (but never came quite close enough to touch). We could see the huge, lurking shadows in the bulls in distance. They were clearly annoyed with us, but they kept their distance. I was glad for that.

  4. I would have feared for my knees snapping backwards. Still big bags of warmness to cuddle up to on an Antartic beach…impressive.

    1. Didn’t look like there was any danger. Worst case, he could just roll out from the bottom of the pile and onto the top.

      It was just a couple kids looking for a warm cuddle at naptime, and they figured that Charlie looked like he needed some extra warmth.


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