I have an exercise for you. Close your eyes and imagine an experience from your life that brought you so much joy your heart felt like it would explode.
Now imagine me, having that very feeling, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
On the morning of our fourth day in the Galapagos, we took a panga ride to a small inlet where we saw a wide variety of wildlife: sea turtles, marine iguanas, Galapagos Hawks, and Galapagos Herons were just a few of the animals we viewed. But I was immediately taken by another species, the sea lion.
We witnessed these playful puppies in various states: dry and light and sleeping in the sun, following our boat while waving in and out of the water, smiling with whiskers wet and heads up, and barking to maintain territory. Their actions were so literal it felt like a language. Their faces were so expressive, it felt like they wanted to know me as a friend.
The true bliss came when we donned our wetsuits and dove into the cove that was so thick with sea lions we could not turn around without greeting four or five. We set out into the water and the pups immediately followed us. They flanked us as we swam forward. They dove underneath us and waved up at us with their flippers. They swam straight towards us so quickly we flinched, even though they are so agile in the water they flitted away before we could blink.
I wished I could turn into a sea lion and stay there, under the water, frolicking for the rest of my life.
It was only when the panga was ready to take the group back for lunch that my trance was broken and I emerged from the ocean transformed by that swim.
After lunch we were delighted with more swims, this time in an area full of marine iguanas. Here are a few pictures that capture the full experience of swimming with so many creatures. Thanks to Joe Cowin for these Go Pro pics.
We ended this day in Urbina Bay where we got to see land iguanas for the first time. They are cute and yellow and very lazy!