We stayed the night anchored at Punta Albemarle planning on a panga (zodiac) cruise through the bay at first light. This turned out to be one of the most exciting mornings of the trip. First we need a little bit of foreshadowing about the hunt!
A little way out from the bay, the sea floor drops off pretty drastically, this is where the sea lions begin The Hunt. This is where the yellow fin tuna are! The first thing to do is cut one or two of the tuna out of the school and chase them into the shallower waters of the bay. From there, they further chase their prey into the small cove where they can tire him out and possibly beach the tuna – The Catch!
Look closely at the above image and you can see this big male sea lion has the tuna right where he wants him. That’s one of the tuna’s fins sticking out of the water. This is one of the first still images I took. Up to this point I had been videoing the sea lions as they beached the tuna. I hope to edit and post some of the video in an upcoming post.
As you can see, the sea lions got the better of the tuna – breakfast!! And that’s a big tuna! Our guide, Juan, estimated the fish may have been at least 60 pounds!
The Frigatebirds are known scavengers and they weren’t going to miss out on a meal either!
It’s a cruel world but also survival of the fittest!
Trying to show the violence of the feeding. The sea lion doesn’t have hands, it has to grip the tuna in its teeth and sling it violently to one side trying to rip off some of the meat. From start to finish, this is hard work for the sea lion, which explains why we saw so many resting/sleeping on the beach!
Just watching over all the action!