For underwater filmmaker Russell Clark, a workplace hazard is an overly friendly sea lion that wants to nibble on him while he's trying to finish a shoot. Yeah, it sounds really rough.
Clark and his partner Trisha own Seaproof.tv, an underwater video company that shoots all over the world — but the pair especially love to showcase the biological diversity off the coast of Comox, B.C., near their home — which is also where they met the adorable sea lions.
"There's no shyness. There's no getting to know you. They're just curious and they just want to know what you are. You know, are you soft and squishy? Do you want to have a good play with them?" Clark said, in an interview with The Huffington Post Canada.
''They're just like ... they're like puppy dogs. They're like a herd of 2,000-pound puppy dogs that just run over to you and then jump all over you."
Watch Clark and his team dive with sea lions at Vivian Island, Hornby Island and Vancouver Island in B.C.:
Clark says many think diving in B.C. is just cold and dark — which it can be — but there are also many places to explore, from glacial fjords, to artificial reefs, to shipwrecks.
"There's very few cities in the world like Vancouver where you can have a dozen different dive sites a 45-minute drive outside of downtown."
It's not just sea lions Clark has encountered on Canada's west coast. He's spotted everything from Giant Pacific octupi — "they can be huge, 20 feet from arm to arm" — to adorable shrimp — "they're kind of looking at you with these eyes, and you're looking at them and it's like a scene out of a Pixar movie."
A diver swims with a Giant Pacific octopus off the coast of B.C. (Photo: Jeffrey L. Rotman/Getty)
When Russell first moved to B.C. from England about eight years ago, he says he was terrified of swimming in the ocean. But, after friends pushed him to give diving a shot, he tried it out — "and something just clicked."
He met his partner Trisha, who taught one of his scuba courses, and three years ago the two decided to turn their hobby into a business.
Clark produced this video to showcase the biological diversity divers can explore in B.C.:
He's hoping his work shows off the beauty of B.C.'s marine life.
"The 'Emerald Oceans' as we call them, they're beautiful and they can be crystal clear in the winter. Some of those sea lion dives, we can see 100 feet in front of us ... that's getting people really interested in our oceans and our marine life and hopefully will make people a little bit more aware of the responsibilities they have towards them," Clark said.
"I mean, Port Hardy makes certain parts in the Great Barrier Reef look dull. It's absolutely incredible."
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