Local diver Randy Williams filmed an encounter he had underwater on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023 with a sea lion at Saltwater State Park in Des Moines.

In the video below, a lively sea lion can be seen darting around Williams playfully.

“Sea lions do get curious when a diver is around,” Williams told The Waterland Blog. “A single animal will occasionally shoot past you underwater to see what the heck we are.”

Williams told us that sometimes sea lions will hang around in small groups of 5-6, just taking in the sun, with their fins out of the water, warming up.

And sometimes there is a small group just off the south area at Redondo.

“They are pretty smart,” he added. “Very territorial during mating season. A single encounter has never been a problem. Much as I try, I just can’t speak sea lion very well.”

Male sea lions can reach a size up to 8-feet, and weigh between 700-1.000 pounds. Females are smaller, reaching around 6-1/2 feet and weighing up to 240 pounds.

Is there any danger?

Williams adds that being around an active rookery – sites used for mating, giving birth, and resting – is not a good idea.

“The bulls get testy about interfering with the females in the herd,” he said. “But a single animal is not going to be an issue around here.”


Sea Lion fun at Saltwater State Park 5Feb2023.mp4 from Randy Williams on Vimeo.