A seal decided to join human beach activity when it swam ashore at La Jolla Cove at 3 p.m. on September 28. No one could believe that the seal would come so close to people who were resting on the shore. Most seal encounters happen when people are in the water.
A snorkeler ran out of the water to tell the lifeguard that the seal had followed him around threateningly while he was minding his own business. The man said he was frightened by the seal — that it appeared angry. Then, he inquired if seals ever bite swimmers.
The lifeguard laughed and told the man that seals were not dangerous and, if anything, would just try to nip a swimmer if they got too close. However, this rarely happened. The man seemed satisfied but still expressed shock that the seal had supposedly followed him on to the shore.
Soon, a woman asked the lifeguard if the seal was ill or hurt. She said it seemed to be strange that it swam up to all the people and then just lay down. She said the seal even chased her out of her spot on the beach. She was there with a bunch of other women who were worried about the seal’s well-being.
The lifeguard was not concerned…more concerned with “keeping an eye out for people in the water,” he said. The busy lifeguard did say that this had happened before. “Seals need breaks, too”…and he said to quote him on this: “Please keep a safe distance from the seals.”