Vincent Fejeran was fishing from his kayak near the Coronado Bridge in San Diego, California, when he made an unexpected friend. A seal pup launched itself onto the tail end of Fejeran’s kayak and hung out with his new human buddy for almost an hour.
At first, the fisherman feared the seal was going to bite but soon became enamored by his sweet new friend, which only wanted to snuggle adorably. He took a series of photos and a video of their delightful encounter and shared them on social media.
“Here’s my new friend. Anybody looking for a seal? I seem to have acquired one,” Fejeran jokes in footage shared on YouTube on October 2015.
In the video, filmed by Fejeran himself on a handheld device, the adorable marine critter nuzzles up, rests his head on Fejeran’s right shoulder, and even bleats in response to the fisherman’s running commentary.
According to the Daily Mail, the seal pup seemed all but prepared to accompany Fejeran home. When the fisherman packed up his gear and paddled back to shore, the adorable stowaway remained happily sunbathing on the tail end of his kayak, reluctant to move.
“Seals come up to the kayaks all the time,” Fejeran told Inside Edition. “He swam around and he had jumped on the side of the kayak. I thought he’d jump off.”
“He was on my back and he stayed on the entire time,” Fejeran continued. “He laid down on the back [of the kayak] for a few minutes. I felt him breathing on my neck.”
Eventually, Fejeran managed to coax his little friend back into the water using scraps of food.
Many netizens, loving the surprise marine encounter, left comments on YouTube beneath Fejeran’s footage. “That awkward moment when a sea lion decides it wants you to be its special human,” wrote one netizen humorously, while another quipped, “You are the father of the seal and forget to pay child support.”
“There probably was a shark in that area and the [sea lion] was seeking protection,” one person speculated.
Commenting on the pup’s overwhelming cuteness, one netizen admitted, “I wouldn’t have been able to leave!”
Another joked, “This video gets my seal of approval.”
According to Seals World, there are 18 different types of seals, with some that are several orders larger than the one that found its way onto Fejeran’s kayak that day.
The species of seal featured in his video is likely a California sea lion, which according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is one of the most recognizable species and lives along the west coast of North America.
Males can average around 700 pounds (approx. 318 kg), while females are 240 pounds (approx. 109 kg) on average. The California sea lion, experts say, is a sleek animal that can reach swimming speeds of up to 25 miles an hour. Huge colonies inhabit the rocky Pacific Ocean coastlines of western North America, and the pups are born on land.
(Courtesy of Vincent Fejeran)
Fish, squid, and shellfish make up the sea lion’s primary diet, and they boast a thick layer of blubber to keep them warm during the seasonal chill of deeper ocean waters.
As of 2020, the sea lion’s IUCN red list status is listed as LC (least concern). The marine mammal’s population is on the increase.
Ultimately, reports Inside Edition, Fejeran’s surprise encounter with a Californian sea lion pup was a pleasant one. It made for a timeless photobomb that will be very hard to forget. “He was very friendly, that’s for sure,” said the fisherman.