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Dive Photo Guide

Big Animals – Seals, South Africa and Other Locations

If you’ve ever wanted to know what it feels like to be a dog’s chew toy—dive with seals. Playful, to say the least, seals have a penchant for chewing on your snorkel and love swimming at high speed right up to you and blowing bubbles in your face. Who can resist a seal photo though? We can’t.

Seal encounters can be similar in different locations. Local dive operators know where the seals are and put divers in the water near rookeries or colonies. Underwater, these curious animals usually put on their own show and divers can remain in the same general location and expect the seals to approach them. Visibility can vary from location to location.

When to Dive

Most seal species stay at their home location year round.

Pro Tips

I swear seals know you want to take their picture and like a child experiencing the terrible twos they will try to prevent you from getting the shot as if it’s nothing more than a game of ‘Catch me if you can.’ By observing where most of the action is (like where the seals are entering the water) it’s best to place yourself at that spot and click away. You’ll catch one in a frame eventually.Brandi Mueller


Two of the world’s most endangered seal species are the Hawaiian monk seal and the Mediterranean monk seal. It is still possible to dive with them in the Hawaiian Islands and the Greek Islands, respectively. Due to their rarity and shy behavior, it may take some luck and a lot of dives to find them, but capturing those shots is worth the wait. (Check out Seasport Divers in Hawaii and Alonissos Triton Dive Center in Greece.)


Where to Dive with Seals

  • Cape Town, South Africa: Cape Fur Seals
  • Monterey, California, USA: Harbor Seals
  • Australia: Australian Fur Seals
  • Galápagos, Pacific: Galápagos Fur Seals
  • Farne Island, UK: Gray Seals

Recommended Operators


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