I was so exited that we were all going to Swim with the Sea Lion.
We barely made it to the boat, though because we had to get there by 8 in the morning. We were on the same boat that we went in to the swim with the tuna. The trip was harder than last time because the water was a lot rougher, the trip was longer, and went further out into the ocean.
The trip was longer than I expected. The boat was pushed to one side, then the other by the waves. It wasn’t so bad at the beginning, but then the waves started slowly to grow. The waves really actually started to grow when my Dad suddenly took a flying leap out of the cabin. It was a spectacular jump. A wave suddenly hit the front of the boat, and sent Dad flying up so he hit the roof and then the next second he was flat on the ground. More waves came in quick succession.
The Australian blunt-nose sea lions are apparently the rarest of all sea lions. The sea lions are big. The females can weigh up to about 150 kilograms. The bulls, the males, can get to be up to 300 kilograms. There was only one fully grown bull there. Apparently there had been two, but the other one had gone off somewhere only a few weeks ago. The one that was there at the moment had been away for a while and had only just returned. His name was Bubbles, because he always blows lots of bubbles.
I was the first to spot the sea lions when we neared the sea lion colony at a little island that is a wildnerness reserve, called Hopkins Island. It was named for the skipper of the ship that found Memory Cove. There were three sea lions when we first got there that were flipping and summersaulting around. It was funny to watch them playing in the water. It looked like they were calling us into the water.
When we were getting started, I thought I would just dive straight in and try and ride a sea lion. When I read the rule sheet it said we could not do it, just like with the tuna. I felt excited when we were about to jump in the water, but I was a bit apprehensive. There was a little platform at the back of the boat that we could jump off into the water. I hopped on there two times before I slipped into the water (on purpose). I was one of the last to get in the ocean.
I swam to the others, and flipped and summersaulted in the water, attacting quite a few young sea lions! The older ones looked like they were sunbaking on the rocks and sand. The bull would easily have been the biggest and heaviest. We were all swimming around in the water searching out for the sea lions. I had quite a few come and circle around, but they seemed to go after a little bit. Probably because I couldn’t copy them and flip and summersault in the water, and because I had to have my head above a lot of the time. Dad had his head down almost all the time, and he had many more around him.
The skipper clapped his hand and got the attention of the sea lions. A few more came in soon. Edmund and Mum weere sitting in the shallow part of the water nearer to the sand. Edmund was enjoying himself, until he got too cold. Mum said later that he started saying “doat. Me doat now, Mama,” over and over again. So they went back to the boat after that.
I dropped my camera in the water and I tried to get it back again. I couldn’t work out how to dive down with the flippers on. The only other passenger on the boat came and asked me what I was trying to do and I told her. She dove down and got it for me. It turned out you had to throw your feet up in the air first and go down. My camera was OK, because it’s waterproof to ten meters.
Bubbles, the bull was very big and he looked very scary out of the water and a bit scary in the water. That was mainly because of his appearance, because he was really quite friendly. It became apparent quite quickly that he was really rather friendly. He seemed to have a liking for lying on the bottom of the ocean and waiting for the others to come up and play with him while he blew bubbles at the people.
I was ready to go, but I still wanted to stay at the same time. The trip back was even worse than going there. I thought it took longer to get back. We went passed the coast line and saw it from the water. We went passed Memory Cove. It’s called Memory Cove in memory of three sailers who died trying to row a lifeboat to the shore there after their boat sank. It looks like sand, rock and forest. We went along the coastline the whole way back so we could see it. Being in a boat is the only way to see that part of the wilderness reserve, as there are no tracks into it.
As we were pulling in to the port, we saw a cargo boat with king fish. The men said they’d just been vacuuming them up from the sea. We all took a lot of photos. I even got to hold one. It felt disgusting – I could not believe that pepole eat them!
Just as we were going, Susan saw a sea lion. I said she was joking, then we saw it go under the ship. We wondered if maybe it had liked swimming with us so much that it had followed the boat back from Hopkins Island.