Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Snorkeling Espanola

We did two snorkels on Espanola. The first was right off the beach in Gardner Bay. I didn't get very good pictures because this was when my camera lens was at its foggiest. Boo. There was, however, a sea lion who decided to take an active role in my film, and inadvertently created a clip for my Galapagos blooper reel. It's a little embarrassing because you can hear me yelling as the sea lion swims up close, but in this case I'd say a little public shame is worth your enjoyment.

Our second snorkel was unquestionably one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life. The itinerary had hinted that we might get to actually swim with sea lions, and I was already more than satisfied with the ones I'd already been underwater with. As usual, the Galapagos had more in store for us.

There was a little inlet on Espanola where I guess sea lions like to hang out. And play. If there was ever any question that animals can have emotions around leisure activity, this cleared it up. I felt like a pet, and the sea lions just wanted to play with me. They're obviously better swimmers than people could ever be, so they glided around the water doing flips and teasing us. My favorite thing--that I definitely had to get used to because that's what scared me in video posted above--was that they would swim up close to your snorkel mask, and then right before they touched you would flip away. I was definitely as dumbstruck and clumsy as a little puppy who's still falling over his own feet. I don't say this kind of thing very often, but swimming with the sea lions was almost spiritual in the way I felt connected to creatures from another species. If this is what it's like to commune nature, sign me up for the next hippie retreat.

And on that note, here are the pictures. Click to look at the full album.

Note how graceful the sea lion is in the water compared to on land.

Just in awe.

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