source: Omaha World Herald via Washington Post
Chase Dekker gripped his camera with anticipation. A couple hundred feet from his seat on a whale-watching boat, the waters of Monterey Bay in California teemed with activity. A group of California sea lions had just come up for air after feeding on a school of anchovies and following close behind them was the main event: humpback whales.
But as a whale burst from the waves, the wildlife photographer told The Washington Post, he instantly noticed something was off. A sizable sea lion, weighing 400 to 600 pounds, was teetering precariously above the whale’s gaping mouth.
Dekker, who was guiding the July 22 tour, didn’t know it then, but he ended up capturing an occurrence so unusual that many marine mammal researchers had never seen it before. The photo shows the surprised-looking sea lion, its mouth wide open, appearing moments away from being engulfed by the roughly 50-foot-long surfacing humpback whale.
“It was capturing this perfect moment when nature kind of backfires a little bit…… It’s so anomalous to see something like this because the animals are so well-adapted and so good at what they do……… This was a once-in-a-million time that the sea lion zigged when it should have zagged and kind of got taken for a ride……… [There was] no intent by the whale to eat the sea lion.”Ari Friedlaender
University of California at Santa Cruz
“I just ran around the boat going, ‘Did everyone see that?’……… I was screaming at the other boats that I know next to us……….. It’s something I may never witness and most likely will never capture ever againChase Dekker
What the HELL was that all about!