Photographer captures 'once-in-a-lifetime' moment as whale 'swallows' sea lion

Photographer captures 'once-in-a-lifetime' moment as whale 'swallows' sea lion

There are many wonders in the deep blue sea. Think of all the underwater life we've discovered, and then think about how there's so much out there that we don't even know about. And yet, we're consistently shocked by nature's wonders.

Chase Dekker, a wildlife photographer and marine biologist, was on a whale watching trip when he captured something spectacular. The 27-year-old witnessed a whale try to eat a sea lion in Monterey Bay, California.

He says that the trip started as any other - all fine and dandy. His boat came across three humpback whales and around 200 sea lions, but who's counting.

The whales were feeding on anchovies when the unexpected happened: Chase snapped a photo of a whale accidentally trying to eat a sea lion. While the animal was definitely in the whale's mouth at one point, Chase is almost positive it wasn't consumed. Instead, he thinks he saw it swim away.

Chase's personal account aside, it's safe to assume the sea lion escaped unscathed. Maybe the animal was a little startled at worst. As humpback whales don't have teeth, it would be pretty darn tricky to chew up a sea lion with their measly bristles.

Watch this whale "protect" a diver from a nearby shark: 

Chase shared the amazing experience in an Instagram post last week with the caption:

"Just the other day I witnessed something out on Monterey Bay I had never seen before. While the humpbacks were lunge feeding on a school of anchovies, a sea lion apparently didn't jump out of the way fast enough and got trapped inside the whales mouth!"

"At some point the sea lion escaped and the whale seemed fine too as it continued to feed, but it must have been a strange experience for both parties! That sea lion had the true 'Jonah Experience!'"

Chase told Radio 1 Newsbeat:

"We were watching them feed for a long time and then eventually the event - as I call it the once-in-a-lifetime event - happened, and I still can't believe it. I had about a split second while the whale was coming up to really comprehend that the sea lion was on top of the whale before shooting the rest of the sequence."