Lindsay Bryant swims in the ocean off Nanaimo three times a week, but one recent visit came with a surprise.
Shortly after getting to her normal spot on Nov. 16, just after noon, she spotted a sea lion struggling in the water.
Bryant thought the sea lion might have been tangled or trying to catch a fish, so she grabbed her phone to capture video of the scene.
The sea lion was about 100 metres away so she couldn’t tell what was going on until she zoomed in with her camera.
“I realized it was an octopus,” she says. “I was totally surprised.”
The exchange lasted about five minutes. As far as she knows, she was the only one who witnessed it.
“I was surprised because I’ve never seen an octopus in the wild before to begin with, let alone [in] a battle with a sea lion,” she says.
Between the two, Bryant believes the sea lion won the fight.
“I definitely think the sea lion had to work for it a little bit harder than it thought.”
Marine zoologist Anna Hall was surprised to see the photograph Bryant captured but said sea lions do hunt octopus.
“To see that at the surface is extremely uncommon. Fantastic photo,” said Hall, who noted that in all her years on the water, she’d never seen a battle between an octopus and a sea lion at the surface.