I was both excited and scared about swimming with sea lions in the wild; excited because they are fondly named the puppy dogs of the sea due to their playful nature and scared of the cold waters around Port Lincoln, South Australia.
We took a relaxing cruise from Port Lincoln out to our sea lion spot and on the way, learnt all about how to attract sea lions when in the water – duck diving, spinning and acting like a playful child works a treat! When we arrived, we geared up with wet suits along with flippers and a mask with snorkel. As if on cue, as Matt, the skipper of Adventure Bay Charters, whistled and clapped to at a group of sea lions lazing around on the rocks near the reef, they playfully jumped into the water and started heading in our direction.
Although it was like jumping into a pool of ice cubes, I quickly forgot about the freezing water when a sea lion swam up close to us and then with one flick of its tail was off again. Chasing after it, I was very quickly surrounded by a few sea lions all trying to figure out exactly what I was doing in their water.
I spun around in the water and following my lead, they all did the same thing. “Where did he go”, I said to my colleague, Kate who pointed excitedly behind me. I turned and the sea lion was practically sitting its head on my shoulder – I had become one of the pack! The hours passed by so quickly as we swam around with these playful creatures that really are as their nickname suggests, just like big puppy dogs – extremely quick puppy dogs at that.
Before I knew it, it was time to go but I didn’t want to. I was having so much fun being so close to these wild, yet strangely friendly creatures. Back on the boat, we were happy to get into warm clothing, sip on a warm drink and have something to eat.
If you love the idea of getting close to animals in the wild, this is the experience for you. It’s without fail the best close encounter with wildlife I have ever experienced. A big 10 out of 10 experience and should definitely be on your bucket list!
By GoDo team member, Michelle