Thanks everyone! Ranger Komi loves all the animals we come across (mostly birds and crabs) and the occasional seal. He's really curious with the seals; always gently approaching them to smell them and see what they are (funny looking dogs?). There are many instances when we might see a horseshoe crab stuck on its back, so we flip it over, or a seagull with a broken wing stuck in the waves, and so we pull it out and move it to dryer land (they rarely survive much longer though; I just rather they don't pass on by drowning, and hopefully have some warmth and comfort before they go). So now Nakoma will run ahead of me if he sees something out of the ordinary and check it out, and he'll look at me as if he's asking "can we help this one?" Earlier this spring, we saw a dead seal washed up. I went to him and touched him to see if there was any sign of life, but nothing; it just looked like he was sleeping; poor fella. It made me really sad, and there was nothing I can do. Nakoma must have sensed that, and his whole mood changed from happy and playful to somber, and he just quietly heeled the entire way back home. He really is something else.
... Allison, I have to agree, it was like this seal was biting the bullet, in retrospect. I thought at first that he was probably trying to bite me, not realizing what a sleeve was. But your idea makes more sense. He was cut; the ropes and netting really dug into his skin near his front flipper; but nothing deep. I'm sure it still must have hurt. And we never got to examine his underside or anything, so we don't know for sure. As soon as we cut the ropes off, he "ran" to the water as quickly as he could. (Ever see a seal "run" on dry land? it's adorable). I'm pretty certain he knew we were helping him after a while (the whole ordeal took about twenty minutes) but I don't think he trusted us enough to want to hang around. However, he did turn around and look back at us for a bit when he swam out past the jetties. And then he swam away. ... We waited for probably another ten minutes or so to see if we could spot him again, but no such luck. ... I haven't seen anymore seals since, but this is the time of year when they start leaving our area.
We did see some whales last week though!