We arrive in the dominions of the great white shark, the dark blue waters. And here, a tragedy, repeated every year, is about to occur.
The sea lions sense that the breeding season is approaching. Along the coast of southern Australia and Tasmania, they begin to gather near suitable places, playing and swimming with their characteristic skill.
The mature males remain aroused for days, round up their harems, fiercely defending them from rivals.
But in the water, getting over-excited can have fatal consequences. Underwater, they are not alone. The shark will attack soon.
The great white sharks like nothing better than a fresh fur seal – warm red meat, covered in delicious fat, clean and easy to digest.
Despite the name, the fur seals are not seals at all – they belong to a different family, that of the sea lions.
One difference is that they have ears, and another, equally obvious one, is that the sea lions use their rear flippers to walk on land like any other mammal.
The males are in search of a suitably receptive female. But the colony also contains many females impregnated the previous season, and which have just given birth. Alongside the adults, we can see the nurseries of the new-born cubs, wih their dark fur, waiting for their mothers to return with food.
Among the rocks, they become curious about this newly-discovered world, the vast blue horizon that stretches before them. For now, they are only allowed to splash around in the pools left by the retreating tide, but the sea is calling them, and their worst enemy knows it.
The diving skills of the adult fur seals, and their social nature, means they are difficult to catch by surprise when they are near the coast.
But the great white shark comes to its annual rendezvous with the seal cubs. All it need do is approach the colony, and wait for its chance.
This individual is eight metres of sheer fury, and almost two thousand kilos of expert hunter. Though it is a fish, its blood is ten degrees centigrade warmer than the surrounding water, so its muscles perform better in attack. It detects the electrical fields generated by its victims, and it is equipped with a system of navigation based on the earth’s magnetic field. Its sense of smell is infallible, and the muscles around its eyes are warmer than the others, to give it optimum sight.
Once more, the white death has claimed a victim, staining red the blue shroud of the baby sea lion.
The sideways movements of the head help the serrated teeth to cut through the young flesh like butter.