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Snorkeling with the seals in B.C.

In Florida, they swim with dolphins, in Norway with whales and in California they dive with sharks. Now, in B.C. you can swim with the seals.

NANAIMO, B.C. — Somewhere close, in this cold, cloudy water, lurk more than 200 harbour seals. They’re not on shore, they’re not bobbing in the water, they’re not hiding in the deep pock-marked outcroppings.

But they are here. Somewhere.

After 20 minutes floating on the ocean surface gazing through a skin diving mask, I’ve seen countless crabs scuttling across the ocean floor, an array of brilliant orange and purple sun stars, and schools of shiny silver sticklebacks and perch.

But the seals, the overpopulated menace to fishermen all along this coast, can’t be found.

Then suddenly, in an instant, it happens. A speedy black bullet passes just beneath. Then another, this time a spotted grey torpedo less than three meters below. Then dozens more of these 100-kilogram marine mutts stampede from their warm perches into the water.

This, although still in its infancy, is the leading edge of British Columbia adventure travel.

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