It’s 06:00am in Port Lincoln, South Australia and I am wide awake. I lie in bed eyes wide shut, staring at the ceiling above. I let my mind wander, and walk through the day. In one hour I’ll be making my way to the port, boarding an Adventure Bay Charter, and heading out to the open ocean. This is it, the day I’ve been waiting for. Today I swim with a colony of Australian Sea Lions. I let this thought sink in and smile quietly to myself. It is an incredible thing joining a perfectly evolved species in its home environment. This is it, a day to remember and a life goal about to be realized, I lie in bed eyes wide shut, with only one present thought, almost like a passing dream, a dream of swimming with South Australian Sea Lions. A sea dreamer.
Fast forward 12 hours. I am back on the main land with a permanent smile of absolute joy. Today was something to be relished, a wildlife encounter like no other I have ever experienced. It is truly a special thing when you are immersed in an environment which is it not your own and treated like a welcomed guest. Most people get this wonderful greeting through international travel. Today I got it from a colony of Australian Sea Lions!
About an hour boat ride outside of Port Lincoln there is an area know as Seal Cove at Hopkins Island, and it is a gem of an environment. The cove is sheltered from the open ocean by the Eyre Peninsula and plays home to juvenile Aussie Sea Lions looking to separate from the colony and learn from their mothers the intricate ways of the underwater world. The sea lions spend 18 hours of their day underwater, and the majority of that is playing and mucking about with their mates! Sounds like a pretty nice life to me! Seal Cove is a pristine beach with a population of about 50, now add other nearby island populations, and the area makes up a colony of around 300 strong.
Australian Sea Lions are an incredibly unique species found only in Southern and Western Australia, with a known population of about 15,000 in total. They are a protected species under the National Parks and Wildlife Act and flourish in and around Kangaroo Island and the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.
Port Lincoln (Eyre Peninsula) is the stepping stone to visiting these wonderful creatures and a beautiful place to start your oceanic adventure. It is a scenic and quaint with incredibly friendly people, good food, and good wine. Sounds like a pretty good spot to rest your head for a night or two eh. From Port Lincoln you can easily set up the excursion with Adventure Bay Charters who leave almost daily for most of the year. Be sure to check out their website in advance to see what the conditions are like and to get updated info on the colony. These guys are a world class operator with a ton of knowledge about the Sea Lions behavior, life cycle, habitat, and most importantly future.
Swimming with the Australian Sea Lions has been the highlight of my trip so far. It is incredibly hard for me to express how awesome today was. I hope the video can give you a better idea. This is truly one of those things you have to experience for yourself. The freedom, curiosity, friendliness, interest, confusion, and overall emotion of the Sea Lions is absolutely palpable underwater. It is such an incredible experience. What is your most memorable wildlife experience? Did it happen in Australia? Have you ever been swimming with Sea Lions? If so, what was it like, can you agree with me?
I look forward to reading your comments and sharing more of my experiences in South Australia as my travels continue! There is so much more here do see and to do, but I have to be honest, this was such an incredible experience, I am on a high, and hopefully it is not the last time I’ll be saying hello to these energetic guys.