Charles Maxwell
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Cape Fur Seals

Some of my most special moments have been spent underwater with seals. Seals are easy to film as they are such good actors. I can therefore relax and enjoy the "show". Seal Island in False Bay is one such venue for filming seal. There is just one problem, it is also the feeding ground for many white sharks. This is the best place in the world to witness the raw explosive power of a white shark breach. However, in early summer these predators leave the island and move inshore to feed on fish and, as some scientists think, to mate although this is still unproven. At this time, in a window of opportunity before the dirty summer water arrives in False Bay, I have a special place where I can dive with thousands of seals as they dart about, interacting with me and each other. Seals are afraid of humans on shore but are much more confident once in the water.

If seals have been laying on a rock and jump into the water it is possible to get stunning footage of their streamlined bodies jetting through the water in a stream of sparkling bubbles. In summer the seal pups learn to swim. Hundreds of floundering pitch black pups enter the sea every day, some venture out too far and eventually drown, many of which wash up on the nearby beaches. While it is very sad to witness a seal pup drowning, this the survival of the fittest in its truest form.
2002 Emmy Award
Winner for Outstanding

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