Synchronized swimming sea lions

California sea lions practicing synchronized swimming

Here is another shout out to the 2012 Olympics in London, this time to synchronized swimming!

There is actually more synchronized swimming in the ocean than you might think. For starters, many species of small schooling fish look the same and swim the same way traveling en mass for protection such as the Pacific sardine. Dolphins swimming in large pods leap together, sometimes making it looked perfectly planned. And whales will often surface and dive together with synchronized tails entering the water headed for the deep.

But one of the best examples of synchronized swimming I’ve seen was thanks to a group of California sea lions. There were about 15 sea lions in the water just swimming around, when a kayaker passed by about 30 feet away. At first the sea lions acted like it was no big deal, but as soon as the kayaker passed and had his back to the sea lions, they totally watched his every move.

All there heads moved together in synch following him with their eyes and they continued to watch him a long time after he passed by, which is what is happening in the photo above. I’m not sure if they were just curious or if they were worried he was going to suddenly turn back and they needed to be on guard. Either way, it was fun to watch and that group of California sea lions proved to be excellent synchronized swimmers.


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