Lazy sea lion waits to catch a wave into the ocean

Sea lions are like the puppy dogs of the ocean. They are comical and endearing and they are a highlight for any visitor lucky enough to spend time in the Galapagos Islands. Sea lions inhabit almost every rocky shore and sandy beach on the islands. They bask in the sun during the day and sleep on almost any flat surface in the night, including benches and picnic tables, as well as moored boats. They venture into the ocean for several hours each day to hunt for fish, eels, and octopus. They return with a full belly and stretch out again for yet another nap. They grow large, often weighing well over 150kg (330lbs) and moving around on land requires a lot of effort. Even though they are cumbersome on land, they are surprisingly graceful in the water. Their flippers propel them with amazing speed and agility. These comical animals are adorably clumsy as they walk on their flippers, dragging their ample bellies along the sand and over the rocks. They waddle from side to side as they move and you can't help but laugh as you watch. This large sea lion has decided it is time to go out hunting and she makes her way to the shoreline with true determination. She stops just as she reaches the water and she dips her head under. As if she has no more energy, she lies flat and waits. After a few moments, it becomes clear that she will not walk the last few steps to the water. She waits until the next wave washes over her and lifts her off the sand. She pushes with her flippers and lets the ocean do the work, carrying her out to water that is deep enough for her to swim in. Triumphantly, she pokes her head up from the waves to steal a last glance at those who watched and possibly doubted her resolve. She is floating and she quickly disappears from sight. These sea lions are among the most loveable in the animal world, reminding us of our canine companions, but they are truly wild animals and they cannot be approached closely by humans without great risk. It is fine to watch them from a respectable distance, but they are quick to reprimand anyone careless enough to get too close.