This is a Hookers Sealion (whakahao), a humungous male that has taken up residence in the little bay of Moeraki much to the consternation of the locals. Nobody can visit the beach or walk the Millennium Walk for fear of coming across this brute. And he's pretty hard to spot in amongst the clumps of seaweed & diftwood. Especially when the sea fog has rolled in. This is the view from just below our camp site. How close is that!
We first saw him on our walk to the local pub for dinner, I only had my cell phone with me so these photos aren't great but you'll get the idea of how large he is. Like a great piece of lard he was lolling about in his smelly sand pit. Keeping an evil eye on us. In fact we had seen him earlier swimming around a boat in the bay that was filleting fish. He is obviously onto a good thing.
He even stuck his flipper up just to make sure we had seen him! :)
But when he started flicking sand in the air you knew he was getting annoyed with the disturbance.
We left him then but I was up early the next morning hoping to catch him leaving the beach but when I got there he was still snoring away. I knew he was still there before I saw him, the smell was well, very....unique. The fog was thick, I couldn't see any boats when I first arrived but slowly as the sun came up the mist disappeared to reveal the boats at anchor.
He stuck his head up a few times but continued to rest on waiting for the sun to warm his back no doubt.
I think he's actually quite cute, look at that soft rounded nose & big beady eyes. He had a well defined mane too.
"Hey, you Mr Oyster Catcher, don't come too close"
I waited it out in the fog & then the brisk morning air for about 90 minutes but this is the best I could get of him stirring. And then he flopped back down again. When we left the camp site a couple of hours later he was gone. For all his faults, what a beautiful animal he is.
And while I was waiting & the fog began to retreat this fogbow (rainbow) appeared for the briefest of moments. I managed to get two shots & then it was gone. Very unusual don't you think.