PEOPLE have heard rumours of seals seen around Cook Island for years, but a dive operator has snapped a photo that may prove it beyond a doubt.
Ocean Dive owner Chris Mair said he spotted the creature last Sunday.
"I haven't seen him since and I don't know if he left or was hidden in the rocks," Mr Mair said.
"I was just sitting in the dive boat and the divers were down. I saw this thing so went to investigate and it was a little seal. Only a baby."
No one else can confirm the sighting at the time.
"I didn't tell anyone (divers) because it was only a little thing and I didn't want anyone harassing it," Mr Mair said.
"I definitely saw it and it was just lying on its back and rolling around having a good time."
Kirra Dive Centre operates around Cook Island.
Dive instructor Kristie Morgan said there had been reports of seals around Cook Island before.
"We have had a seal sighting every couple of years," Ms Morgan said.
In August a six-month-old New Zealand fur seal was discovered at Cabarita Beach severely dehydrated and with a shark-bite injury.