Free diving is a bit different from scuba diving as you have to return to the surface for air. I think this created a problem as many of the sea creatures I happened upon seemed intimidated and withdrew. This behavior was not only because I was foreign to them, but because I was a silhouetted shape at the surface that rapidly approached them. I noticed this behavior most when interacting with the sea lion. While snorkling, he presented curiosity, swimming as he normally would with his eyes fixated on me. I swam along the surface with him for a bit, but once I dove deeper, he picked up speed and dashed for the safety of the kelp forest. This is very different from the behavior I have witnessed with sea lions while scuba diving. It may be because this one was traveling alone, or more likely, because of my sudden movements. If some foreign object came at me from the sky, I'd be a bit scared too.
Other curious behavior I observed was that of the Garibaldi. The Garibaldi is the California state fish: a mid-sized bright orange damselfish. Usually this fish is very friendly... almost overly friendly. However, on this day of free diving, the fish would immediately retreat into cracks between large underwater boulders. I suspect that this was because they were protecting their eggs. Female Garibaldi are very selective in choosing a mate because they will be the ones guarding the nest of young, and need to be very protective. The fish were still friendly, but still found me as a threat to their young, just as many other species would. It is funny how humans and many other species all change behavior drastically when it comes to their young.
It seemed all of the animals were a bit too shy to interact too much on the two days of free diving. Even though I didn't get to dance with them, I did get to swim alongside many of the sea animals and at least feel out their perception of me. Some schools of fish seemed to barely notice me (as well as the spider crab and bat ray), while others wanted nothing to do with me. All in all, it was a wonderful experience with the sea creatures.
How do I upload some of my pictures and videos?
These photos and video are really beautiful. Can't wait to see the one Forrest is talking about. :D
sweet. can you put up your bad ass seal video?