A sea lion surprised some divers in Baja California Sur earlier this year by clambering over the side of their small vessel and stopping for a rest.
Posted by tour guide Alexander Schmidt Márquez, a diving and ocean safari guide in Cabo San Lucas, a video shows the diving party calling over the edge of the boat to the sea lion, which then — to their surprise — jumps into the boat and allows itself to be petted and handled by the people on board.
At one point it appeared to fall asleep with its head in the palm of Schmidt’s hand.
Baja California Sur is well known for its up-close displays of wildlife, including sea lions on the Isla Espíritu Santo where visitors can watch this aquatic creature from September to May. Still, the friendly sea lion’s visit was clearly beyond regular viewing. Schmidt reported that where they were diving nearby there is a rock where groups of sea lions rest in the sun so he was unsure why the creature felt the need to take a break on their boat. However, he said it did appear exhausted.
There have been other instances where sea lions have boarded boats, including one in 2021 in which a sea lion in Canada hopped on board a woman’s boat to escape threats from nearby orca whales.
While the animals can also be aggressive in certain circumstances, it seems these sea lions needed their human companions and so took advantage of the relationship when in trouble.