Two seals wrestling with a salmon

Salmon on the Menu (click to enlarge this or any of the other photos below)

Anchored off the mouth of the Goldstream River at the head of Saanich Inlet, we were just starting to cook dinner when I heard some sudden loud splashes very close to our boat.

In the brilliant, low-angle, golden light of a late September evening, it took my brain a few moments to decipher what my eyes were seeing.

A pair of seals had surfaced beside us, where they were wrestling a large salmon into submission.

Two seals working subdue a large salmon

The struggle went on for several minutes, with the feisty fish demonstrating some impressive acrobatics and forcing the seals to work hard.

Salmon struggling against seals

But in the end, the salmon couldn’t match the power of two very determined seals. 

Salmon subdued by two seals, with gull looking on

Eventually the fish was subdued…

Two seals eating a salmon

and the feast began.

Two seals sharing a salmon

Though perhaps having such an attentive audience for the meal wasn’t truly appreciated.

It’s not often that we get treated to a real life nature show like this, right up close. Needless to say, our dinner was delayed until after the seals had finished theirs. Lucky for us, they were pretty fast eaters.

Two seals, one eating fish, the other watching

You can click twice on the images to enlarge them even more and see all the details. 

If you’re on Gabriola Island:  Three of my prints are among those on display in a new group exhibition, “Gabriola Through a Lens”, at The Hive Emporium. The show opens on December 29 and runs until January 24 . (Opening reception: December 29, 6 to 9 pm.)

About Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment

Photographer focused on nature and nautical on the BC coast

6 responses »

  1. Fred Bailey says:


    Fantastic! Thanks for sharing an incredible moment! Madeira Park tonight, just a short jaunt across from here, once a tiny weather window opens.
    Best, Fred

  2. Kim says:

    You really did have a front row seat. Gorgeous light.

  3. Sherry Galey says:

    Wow! What an experience to witness and capture! The gold water is gorgeous.

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