Backing off

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Leopard Seal

Usually I’m not really easily scared. When animals approach me I just sit put and take more pictures enjoying these intimate moments with wild animals. In some cases however, it’s better to back off a little. In this case we were zodiac cruising through the pack ice and found a Leopard Seal sleeping in the middle of an ice floe. We had a look for a while, hoping that she would lift her head. When she finally did, she immediately came ‘running’ towards us. Stopping only a few meters away from the bow of my zodiac. Well, maybe she had the intention to board the zodiac, but I had already put my zodiac in reverse so that was not really an option. Even though I had enough space in my zodiac, having a large Leopard Seal in it didn’t seem like a great idea… In the IAATO-exam we guides have to take usually is the question what to do when a penguin jumps into your zodiac. I never read anything about what to do with Leopard Seals in zodiacs, so I decided to prevent that… But even with a few more meters between us and the animal it was a great experience!

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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