A local writer/photographer’s video of a bloody encounter in the waters off Dallas Road is likely just a sea lion’s evening meal, according to a marine biologist.
The video, captured by Steffani Cameron and posted to Twitter and Instagram, shows a marine mammal thrashing in the water near the shoreline.
After a few moments, a large spray of blood and gore appears. The mammal fails to resurface in the frame, as Cameron wonders aloud “where did he go?”
So my friend suggests I didn’t see a seal hunting fish earlier… but rather a seal being killed by a larger predator that remains below the surface.
And now that I watched it from that perspective… eek.
— Steffani Cameron, Deep State Operative (@SnarkySteff) January 19, 2021
The writer says she took the video between Holland Point and Fonyo Beach, close to sunset Monday evening. Cameron thought perhaps a seal had been attacked by a larger predator.
A local marine biologist says it’s more likely Cameron witnessed a sea lion capturing its evening meal.
“It looks like a sea lion successfully hunted and killed a fish,” Kit Thornton, Chief Aquarist for the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea told Victoria Buzz.
“You can see something large in their mouth and sea lions will shake larger prey items to tear it into smaller chunks before eating it.”
She says that fish can contain a surprising amount of blood and entrails, explaining the startling display of red gore.
As for the sea lion’s disappearance, Thornton says it likely dove underwater to finish its meal, surfacing inconspicuously a distance away, unnoticed by Cameron.
Thornton added that a larger predator would have shown its dorsal fin above water. A Transient or Biggs killer whale would also have surfaced to exhale.
Likewise, the biologist says a shark large enough to kill a seal or sea lion would have a visible dorsal or caudal fin, and there would have been much more violent thrashing in the water.
One thing’s for sure: someone got to eat well Monday evening!