Diving with Seals

The Ultimate Freedivers

Have you ever wanted to swim like a seal, staying underwater on just one breath?

Have you ever tried diving as deep as possible and as long as possible without coming up for a breath?

For six months of the year, Australian fur seals grace us with their presence just 10 minutes off the coast of Wollongong at Martin Island.

But what type of seals will we be seeing?

Seals belong to the taxanomical suborder Pinniped, which consists of 33 species separated into 3 families. There are two types of seals, which make up two of these families.

Family Phocidae or True seals consists of leopard seals, Harbor seals, Weddel seals, Elephant seals and many more.

Family Otariidae or eared seals, the family that we are interested in is a grouping of both sea lions and Fur seals.


The two observational differences between true seals and eared seals are firstly the presence of pinna (obvious external ears) on eared seals, while true seals just have ear holes with no external flap. The other difference being the size of their front flippers and mobility of their back flippers. Eared seals are able to use their front flippers for walking as they are long and can support body weight, their back flippers can rotate under their body to assist in walking. True seals do not have the capability to walk around like eared seals but instead flop around on their bellies, looking more like a worm or caterpillar.

Every week from June all the way through to September, Abyss scuba diving is giving you the opportunity to dive and experience the playful behaviour of Australia’s majestic Fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus).

Australian Fur seals breeding habitat is generally on exposed rocky shores, like what you will see in Wollongong, however they are an extremely inquisitive and social species that congregate around breeding sites, but are ready to launch into the water to explore and interact with anything new and exciting, like the funny looking marine mammals wearing wetsuits and tanks.

Australian Fur seals are the largest of the Fur seal species getting to almost 300kgs and also one of the noisiest species of seal, but the feature that you may feel, really separates them from us, is their ability to dive and stay underwater.

A fur seal can dive to approximately 200meters and hold their breath for over 6 minutes. While that dive is extremely deep, divers are not that far from that breath hold. Abyss is forming our own herd of seals with our Freedivers currently performing breath holds up to 5 minutes.

Along with our regular scuba dive with seals, this year we are also offering Freediving with the seals on a regular basis.

Through correct safety methods and diving techniques, Abyss Freediving, offers you the opportunity to swim with the seals and dive beside them on one breath.

Being an avid Freediver myself, and now a Master freediver I have the ability to dive down to over 25m, without a tank or bubbles to experience these beautiful creatures while completely free and unrestricted, feeling a lot like a seal myself.

If you’re up for some fun and ready to play with the puppy dogs of the sea, check out the calendar and book online for one of our upcoming seal scuba or freedives.