It may have been an exceptionally rare occurrence, but it goes to remind us that sea lions are not some cuddly pets but big marine carnivores. A male California sea lion weighs on an average about 660 lb and is about 8 ft long, while the female sea lion weighs 220 lb and is 6 ft long.
And I am sure that Chris Okamoto will always remember this fact. Chris was spearfishing off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, when a colony of sea lions swam toward him and one of them attacked him. Fortunately, he was able to use the butt of his speargun to push the animal away. He said:
I am guessing the sea lion were patrolling in the open ocean and were attracted to the bait fish that were nearby. At first, it looked like they were just curious and approached me from the blue water. One of them made several passes and then as it got closer, it rushed towards me with its mouth open.
I was not hurt at all, just a bit shaken when it first occurred. I’ve had them do mock rushes before where they blow bubbles in your face, but this one came much closer and as soon as it rushed toward me, I swung the butt of my gun up and it stopped short. I wasn’t sure if it was going to rush me again, so I swung the gun back up with the muzzle towards the group and they took off.
He was also able to capture the attack on camera for us. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Chris Okamoto, a freediver in California, experienced an exceptionally scary — and exceptionally rare — moment as a pasing sea lion attacked.
2. While spearfishing yellowtail off the coast of Santa Barbara, Chris was greeted by a colony of sea lions.
3. The encounter began peacefully enough, but one particular adult sea lion tore away — and charged toward Chris.
4. Thinking quickly, Chris brandished the aggressive animal with his spear gun, sending it into retreat.
And here is the video:
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