Thursday, March 31, 2011

Swimming with sea lions

Sailing north from Espiritu Santo we knew we would pass by a small island, Los Isolotes, famous for its sea lion rookery.  We took the opportunity to sail by closely, hoping to see the lively creatures.  Once we were within 150 yards of the land mass we did indeed see numerous sea lions swimming and sunning themselves on the island, which was actually just a very large rock jutting out of the water.  We'd been told by reliable sources we could snorkel around the rock with the sea lions and decided, "Why not?" So into the water jumped Chandler, Henry, and me!  It was harder to see the lobos (sea lions) once we were at water level so Doug, stirring the boat, told us where to swim to get close to them.  As we came within 10 - 20 feet of the wild creatures we could see their heads pop up out of the water and they would make eye contact with us.  Pretty cool!  They didn't seem to mind our presence and in fact they seemed as curious about us as we were about them.

I must admit, it was a little creepy when I first jumped in the water; I wondered if the sea lions would slide up against me.  I tried to keep my legs on the surfboard as much as possible while still kicking to move around the bay. In the end none of us ever did touch a sea lion but the experience of swimming alongside them will stay with us for a long time to come.

Henry approximately 10 feet away from a sea lion with Chandler behind him

Chandler and Mom on the surfboard with Henry in the background

Gulls diving at fish below the surface and sea lions chasing the gulls away.

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