An Orange County, California man had what he describes as a once in a lifetime experience. J.R. Gilkinson was out on his boat off the coast of Newport Beach when suddenly, a baby sea lion hopped aboard.
In a six-minute video shot on Gilkinson's cellphone, he records as the sea lion approaches his boat, climbs aboard, suns himself on the deck, and eventually settles next to him, nuzzling his face against Gilkinson's leg. He does not appear to be injured, but you can hear a woman in the background comment that the pup looked sleepy and tired. The baby sea lion stayed on board the boat for more than an hour, and it did not leave Gilkinson's side until the boat docked.
Once Gilkinson returned to the shore, he talked about what had just happened to him with other sailors. They agreed with him that the encounter he had just experienced with the affectionate baby sea lion was indeed extremely rare. Gilkinson is not taking what happened to him lightly, saying, "I appreciated every second because I didn't know how long it was going to last."
The video, which was first published on YouTube in May, has been viewed more than 300,000 times and counting. People who have seen it can not believe Gilkinson's luck to have had this happen to him. One person wrote, "Wow, are you a wildlife lover? The baby seal seemed to have intuitively known. Lucky you!"
Lucky indeed. Now we don't know if Gilkinson is some kind of sea-life whisperer, but he certainly has some kind of positive energy to have attracted the affection of this adorable little sea lion. Kudos to him and his friends for remaining calm and giving the little guy a place to chill, and most important, for capturing the moment on video and sharing it with all of us.