"Why don't you go and find your own goddamn buoy?"

December 10th 2011

We’ve just been swimming at the Farallon Islands and a few of us can’t resist another swim. We’re 12 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge on our way back to San Francisco, approaching the Lightship Buoy. This remote buoy marks the official entrance to the SF Bay shipping channel.

We stop the boat about 50 yards from the buoy… and, resting on the buoy, squeezed together in a space the size of a small dining table, are five sea lions. OMG. Vito jumps in first. Then Patti. Then me. Woo! The water feels SO good!! It’s a little challenging to swim with my GoPro attached to my wrist but I really want to video my pinniped buddies. I swim up to the buoy and marvel at them. Vito swims around and back to the boat. I stay with Patti, just happy to be back in the ocean.

The sea lions look rather indignant, and, understandably, are not exactly happy to see us. A couple of sea lions start barking, as if to say, “we were here first… why don't you go and find your own goddamn buoy?” I swim closer. God, they’re beautiful. And it’s an amazing sight. I feel like we’re on another planet. Sitting in the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight, not even a ship... there’s nothing around us except the big blue sea. The buoy makes a very eerie sound... a low moan. It’s quite creepy actually. I wonder how many people have been swimming here. I wonder how deep the water is below me. I wonder what is swimming below me. I’m not worried. I LOVE this.

One by one, the sea lions jump in the water. I put my face in the water with my camera. Wow. They dive so effortlessly. Patti films me talking to the remaining pissed off sea lion. I can’t help but laugh. This is all so silly. “Hey buddy” I say… he’s not impressed.

“The boat is really far away, Kim” Patti cautions… “we should head back.” I look towards the boat. She’s right. It’s drifted quite far away. I love it out here but I know we need to get back to the boat. “Let’s do this,” I say. "Woo!"