The top picture is of a juvenile
Weddell seal weaned from its mother about 2 or 3 months previously
and already completely in control in its aquatic environment.
The scene a few months ago
was rather different though. Weddell seal pups don't automatically realise
that they can or should dive and the early attempts are amusing to watch.
"Attempts" is probably the wrong word.
What actually happens is that the mother pushes the pup into the water
against its will. She then pushes its head under the water - again against
its will. There is much coughing, spluttering and panic before the pup
realises that it can hold its breath under the water and that this in
fact does help!
The pups soon get the hang of it though
and as adults will dive to up to 600 metres (2 000ft) or more staying
under for up to an hour and going as much as 12 kilometers from the
A typical feeding dive takes the seal
to 200-400m and lasts for 5-25 minutes.
The second picture shows how
unaffected by humans Antarctic wildlife is!
Photo; © Paul Ward - Pentax equipment,
100mm lens, 35mm film, K64.
This picture may not be copied or
used in any manner without prior written permission.