In my initial moments in the wild waters with the wild sea lions of the Galapagos I felt a calm amazement. But then a fearfulness came crashing in on my calmness when a sea lion jumped out of the water from behind me and crashed into the water inches from my face. The peace was pierced with a novel keen awareness of the uncertainty I felt and the ability of this wild creature in its wild habitat. I could not read those big beautiful brown eyes. I could not twist and jump and dive like that mammal. I was afraid. But I was also enamored. I had told myself that the next time I found myself amongst the playful creatures that I wouldn’t let my fear get the best of me and I would attempt more of a reciprocal interaction (being that my 1st experience was more one sided on the part of the sea lion). My next encounter occurred in the sandy bottom turquoise blue waters off Lobos island. Three sea lions approached us snorkelers. After a few moments I swam off from the group and began to dive to the bottom of the shallow waters. I would fill my lungs to capacity with cold air and kick my legs hard to get deep into the cold water. This caught the attention of one sea lion, who swam over my way. When it was close, I pulled my snorkel out of my mouth and blew bubbles. The sea lion swam up and once face-to-face did the same. For a short while we dove and twirled in the same waters, only inches from one another. I arched my body like the sea lion would. I would twirl at the surface, then the sea lion mimicked.
Posted: Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010