Galapagos Sea Lion, Cousins Rock

By February 25, 2009Galapagos Diaries

The last time I dove Cousins Rock, one of the finer dive sites in the Galapagos Islands, I was set up to photograph sea horses. I rarely shoot macro, but on this trip I was burned out from two weeks of diving and swimming long distances (the currents are strong in the Galapagos Islands), and I planned to settle down on one of the ledges at Cousins and just shoot the sea horses. After a few minutes on the ledge, I felt a nudge on my shoulder. A young Galapagos sea lion (Zalophus californianus wollebacki) is laying down beside me, watching what I am doing. I had no idea it was there. It hangs out for a few minutes, playing with the smooth stones that are found on the ledges (probably left there by other sea lions), and finally leaves to swim up to the surface for a breath of air. A few minutes later there it is again, right beside me. It stayed with me like this for the entire hour-long dive. What a pleasant and mellow companion, willing to just hang out with me and relax! I eventually obliged it by taking its portrait, converted here to black and white.

Galapagos sea lion, Zalophus californianus wollebacki, Zalophus californianus wollebaeki, Cousins

Galapagos sea lion.
Image ID: 16395
Species: Galapagos sea lion, Zalophus californianus wollebacki, Zalophus californianus wollebaeki
Location: Cousins, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

More Galapagos sea lion photos, and photos from the Galapagos Islands.

About Phil Colla

I am a natural history photographer. I enjoy making compelling images in the ocean, on land, and in the air. I have maintained the Natural History Photography blog since 2005 and my searchable Natural History Photography Library since 1997. Here are some tear sheets and behind the scenes views. Thanks for looking!