Archive for December 15th, 2009

Sea Lions of Los Islotes

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Though we’re not usually in favor of harassing inedible wildlife, particularly if they have sharp pointy teeth and half their name is “Lion”, the opportunity to snorkel among sea lions who have supposedly become accustomed to humans invading their territory seemed too rare to pass up.

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We took advantage of an unusually calm morning and opened up the throttle on the outboard to zip over to Los Islotes at the north end of Isla Partida. 

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Although we would have been happier if they were called Sea Beagles, we hadn’t heard of any sea lion attacks being reported, so we slipped into the water.  The first thing that we noticed was that the fish seemed unafraid, even if they were in disagreement as to which way to go (we’ve all worked on project teams like this one).

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It didn’t take long for the first sea lions to show up to inspect us. 

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Their grace and speed under water was breathtaking (check out these clips: video 1 and video 2).  But did we mention they have sharp teeth?

Most of the sea lions appeared to be youngsters.  They swooped around us and each other, and some of them got curious about what S’s blue fins tasted like.  After being a little freaked, she mustered the courage to let them have a taste.

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It wasn’t until they started coming straight at her face with wide open mouths and blowing bubbles at her that she started to question whether they were really playing.

There was one unnervingly large somber male in the vicinity who looked nothing if not sleepy.  He swam quite slowly with his eyes half closed.  To our relief took little interest in us.

Above water, sea lions are able to make what you’d think were the most uncomfortable surfaces look like feather beds. In the dog world these are known as Comfort Hounds.

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We have no idea how they get on top of these slippery guano covered rocks but they are less likely to get pooped on up there.

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The islands themselves were worth the trip with their crazy rock chimneys and arches. There were boobies (birds) clinging to every nook and cranny, pooping freely and without concern for their sea lion neighbors below (always call the top bunk!).

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24°36.00′N 110°24.00′W 14-Dec-09 14:00 PST