Pinnipeds: The Puppies of the Sea

Pinnipeds: The Puppies of the Sea

Fall is the right time of year to enjoy the company of playful young sea lions.  By August or September, these young pinnipeds have grown past infancy and are entering the playful “puppy” stage of their lives.  I have enjoyed several dives lately where the curious little guys came to pay me a visit.


At first he is shy, keeping his distance and just watching the divers.  A group of sea lions see us from the surface and watch us jump into the water, then they stick their heads under the surface to see what we are doing under there.


Pretty soon, curiosity gets the better of this little guy and he comes in for a closer look.


After a while, the sea lion starts to think of you as one of it’s playmates.  It starts swimming in front of you and holds various poses, all the while keeping eye contact with you.


Sometimes they start blowing bubbles as they swim past.  It seems they are mimicking the scuba divers.


This sea lion began to get a little rambunctious in his play, displaying his teeth, much like young dogs when they wrestle with their siblings.


  If this sea lion had been a large male, I would have felt threatened, but since he was just a few months old, it was hard to take him seriously.


Eventually, it is time for us to surface and say goodbye.  The sea lions watch us until we are completely out of the water, as if they yearn for us to stay.  To tell the truth, I wish I could!

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My photographs are taken with a Nikon  D810 in Sea and Sea Housing using two YS-D1 Strobes.
All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me

10 thoughts on “Pinnipeds: The Puppies of the Sea

    1. They are so playful at this time of year. Since they are born early in the year, they are all around 4 to 6 months old which is why they act like puppies. So grab your find, girl, and make your way over to Southern California!

  1. I love these pictures! I had the chance to dive with sea lions in Patagonia and more recently with grey seals in England, your pictures illustrate perfectly how playful they are! Where were you diving with them?

    1. Thank you Florine! How fun to dive with them in England! I photographed these sea lions at Santa Barbara Island in Southern California where there is a rookery. They are so playful because they are still young children. The adults barely acknowledge our presence in the water.

      1. We’re going to Grand Cayman in a couple of weeks. I’m so excited! We’ll be at Sunset House for a few days and I’m doing a mentoring with the folks at Cathy Church’s school and then we board the Cayman Aggressor for a week. YS-D1 strobe that I’m looking forward to trying!

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