The Languid Sea Lion


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On an afternoon like this, in a year not so far ago, I was kayaking the waters of Tomales Bay, when I came across this Stellar Sea Lion, floating in a dream.

Sea Lion floating peacefully on Tomales Bay. Here you can see its tail

I stopped paddling, and began to drift myself. From a distance I pulled out my camera and began photographing it.

The Languid Sea Lion

Slowly, with the very slight breeze and the slight currents I floated a little closer. Using my paddle, with the quietest, gentlest strokes imaginable, I directed my kayak to pass a distance to the side, not heading directly towards the sea lion, as I did not want to scare it or disturb it.

Slowly it turned in circles as I watched

The gentle, warm sun washed over us, filling me with a calm that I may have borrowed from this flippered soul floating at a distance. There was a stillness to the day that encouraged this sort of calm, this torpor.

Its nose was barely above the water, at times dipping below it

I barely breathed, not knowing how much it could hear, how far it was removed from the world. The day was so calm and quiet, that I imagined my slightest noise to be magnified. Each time I dipped the paddle into the water, I tried to do it so that there was no sound.

And I got closer, and closer, as it lay there, dreaming

I began drifting closer than I had intended, so I began to paddle backwards, my paddle split in two, and I using only one half that I might not make too large of a movement, in case the Sea Lions eyes fluttered open at the wrong moment. It seemed so peaceful, so content floating out there alone in the bay, the late afternoon sun warming its flippers as they stuck out of the water, miniature, organic solar panels collecting the last heat of the day.

And at times the Sea Lions snout would dip under the water, leaving only a single flipper above the surface

And ever so slowly I backed away, and away, leaving it snoozing, unknowing that I had ever been there. I felt incredibly lucky to have witnessed this creature, at rest on Tomales Bay, floating there alongside my kayak, creating the perfect photography subject as I drifted on my own dream…

About Galen Leeds Photography

Nature and wildlife photographer, exploring the world on his feet and from his kayak. Among other genres, he is one of the leading kayak photographers in Northern California. To learn more about him, visit him on his website-
This entry was posted in California, How to, kayak photography, marine life, nature photography, photography, SLR, wildlife photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Languid Sea Lion

  1. it must feel amazing to capture beautiful images like that! great work:)

  2. scillagrace says:

    Ah, Sea Lion dreams…I can feel his peace just looking at the photos. Nice sequence!

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