Sea Lion Lessons

I couldn’t leave California without seeing sea lions.

Our first attempts at finding a good location for spying on these creatures failed, but we eventually decided to join a kayak tour in La Jolla.

I’ve been kayaking numerous times before, but initially felt a bit confused when the cashier asked us if we wanted to rent wetsuits and we were asked to wear helmets.  I understand that there’s always a risk of falling into the water when kayaking, but what kind of kayaking was I getting myself into?

I’m still not so sure about the helmet (although I can imagine bad situations falling out too close to the caves), but starting a kayak trip while on the beach (as opposed to the usual dock method) definitely means that one gets wet as you attempt to get through the waves and onto open water.  Fortunately, I don’t mind getting wet and I’m glad we didn’t try to wriggle into wetsuits.  It felt refreshing.

Although I hoped to see sea lions on this tour, the main emphasis was on kayaking by “the 7 caves”.  The sharp, windswept coastline certainly was breathtaking with a variety of caves that have formed by the wind’s onslaught over 100s of years.

Plenty of birds use outcroppings in the rock to their advantage. There were many cormorants and pelicans.

Garibaldi, California’s state fish, swam below us.

The moon was rising above the ledge.

One of the caves had become large enough that there was an entrance and exit that we could go through.

And nearby I began to hear the raucous barking of what could be nothing else than sea lions debating who gets the prime rock position for the day. As we rounded a bend, there they were.

Blending in and coexisting peacefully with all of the shorebirds.

It’s amazing that they live just below the houses.

One rock held the bull male with a few of his lady friends (sea lions have a polygamous mating system, and the bulls are quite obviously larger than the females). 

We were able to get very close to them,

and they carried a refreshing message about the importance of rest, relaxation, and sun bathing in the midst of a day’s work (some were coming from or going off to forage).

As this was one of the last days that I would spend in California, they served to provide an important vacation reminder: vacations are not the only time when we should relax and enjoy life. It is important to make time and space for this even in the midst of our “normal”, working lives.  Life is too short and will only go by faster if we constantly strive to keep ourselves busy every moment. We must take time to slow down and enjoy the moments of peace, reflection, and leisure.

Slow down and enjoy sea lion lessons today.

6 thoughts on “Sea Lion Lessons

  1. Those caves are beautiful. Most of the rock looks like someone smoothed it on with a knife. In the picture with the yellow kayak, there’s a piece of rock that has been eroded around, leaving an unusual formation on the face of the cave wall. How interesting! Thanks for the reminder to leave room for peace and calm in our daily lives.

    • That’s a good way to put it – like they’ve been smoothed by a knife! They really were spectacular to be so close to, and I’ll have to re-examine the picture with the yellow kayak to look for that face.
      Hope you find your time for peace today! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Focus On: Nature Blogs | The Daily Post at

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