Swimming With Sea Lions

Off the coast of La Paz floating in the Sea of Cortez are two islands: Isla Espíritu Santo and Isla Partida accompanied by an outcropping of rocks too small to really be considered islands.

This is my 'I just found out I have to go swimming today' face. (Selfie: Alex Washburn)

This is my ‘I just found out I have to go swimming today’ face. (Selfie: Alex Washburn)

It is this tiny outcropping of rocks floating in the impossibly blue water near them that made the tour we took worth the $850 pesos each ($65 USD).

Because – baby sea lions.

These rocks are home to the largest California Sea Lion colony in the sea of cortez and because this is Mexico- someone decided boating tourists out to the rocks to swim with them was a fantastic idea.

Koalas are to Australians what Sea Lions are to Northern Californians… Cute, not very exotic and sometimes a total pain in the butt.

Unlike koalas however, sea lions are carnivorous and the idea of bobbing about in the water near hundreds (thousands?) of them seemed really crazy.

Nathaniel with his GoPro strapped to the monopod I gave him was way too eager to hop in (he is from Santa Cruz).

After I slipped (flopped) into the water with him and got my breathing under control (stopped hyperventilating) it ended up being an amazing experience.

A tourist reaches out to touch a sea lion in the waters surrounding Isla Partida off the coast of La Paz Mexico. (Photo: Nathaniel Chaney)

A tourist reaches out to touch a sea lion in the waters surrounding Isla Partida off the coast of La Paz Mexico. (Photo: Nathaniel Chaney)

The babies are curious and like to come up close and poke people with their noses as they tumble over each other in the water like a litter of puppies and the younger adult females will slide in super close to swimmers and put on a flirtatious show of twisting and twirling. Their ability to accelerate in the water is just incredible.

After swimming with them we lunched on Isla Espíritu Santo and headed back to La Paz.

We hope you enjoyed the video!

(My 5D isn’t too fond of water so the imagery in this post is all because of Nathaniel and the GoPro.)

9 Comments on “Swimming With Sea Lions

  1. AMAZING!!! You are both making the best of a crappy situation being stuck in La Paz. So jealous of your trip right now as I sit at my desk doing school work.

    • Theres always next year! La Paz is less than a two hour flight from San Diego!

  2. That is really cool! The first thing I think about when I read “Swimming with Sea Lions” is “Swimming with the things that eat Sea Lions…..SHARKS” I think I would have been a little freaked out. So glad I can continue to live vicariously through you bro. Love the blog and look forward to our next chance to talk.

  3. How fantastic!! Way to find the silver lining guys, not that you wouldn’t. Looking forward to your posts!

  4. Love the video! Looks amazing and fun! Glad you are both enjoying your time!

  5. In the mid to late 80’s there was a sailing event named “Sea of Cortez Race Week”.
    It started as an event for the cruising community in La Paz, but it caught on for a short while and started attracting some real racing yachts. I did the event several years in a row. One of the non racing highlights, was anchoring Kialoa stern-to Los Islotes and swimming with the sea lions.
    I was a bit unnerved as to how close they swam to you, really in your face. Very cool though !!!

    • Michael-

      Alex was a little hesitant about getting the water with them too because of how close they get. But it is amazing that they are just as curious about you as you are about them.

      I am sure you have some great stories from those races.

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