Photo courtesy of Nancy Ehrke.

Sea lions live between 20-30 years and throughout history, have rarely attack humans. When people have been bitten however, most researchers believe they were protecting their rookery, were provoked, or suffered from disease. They can dive up to 600 feet, swim at eighteen miles per hour and hold their breath for up to 10 to 20 minutes. Sea lions have been used in marine and circus shows for many years because of their gregarious disposition. The sea lion’s population around the world has fluctuated due to unrestricted hunting in the past, but now local ordinances designed to protect them are helping them rebound.

Golden Gate Bridge courtesy of Dave Noonan

In 2000 a nineteen-year-old man suffering with a bi-polar disorder made a suicide attempt by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge[1]. The first emotion Kevin Hines felt as he was falling 220 feet at seventy-five miles per hour was…regret. Kevin immediately realized he would die if he hit the water headfirst, so he turned around in mid-air to enter the water feet first. Raked with pain from a broken back and three broken vertebrae, Kevin managed to reach the surface and life-giving air due to the aid of a sea lion. Thinking it was a shark, Kevin punched the sea lion initially, but the sea lion continued to keep him afloat by nudging him to the surface so he could continue to breathe until the coast guard rescued him. To this day, only forty people survived after they jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge into the cold Pacific Ocean.

The Golden Gate Bridge spans the 1.7 mile wide Golden Gate Strait that connects San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean. Completed in 1937, the Bridge Patrol say someone considers and/or attempts to jump off the bridge every two or three days. Almost every week since it was completed, someone has successfully committed suicide from that bridge. The Bridge Rail Foundation states there has been 1,700 confirmed suicides and 300 unconfirmed deaths from people jumping off the bridge. According to the US Centers for Disease and Control, suicide is the second leading cause of death from people ages 10 to 34 years old.

Sea lions with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance courtesy of Chenhengyu

When Kevin recovered from his injuries thanks to his angelic sea lion, he dedicated his life to the possibility of creating a safety net on the bridge to stop future suicide attempts. Kevin’s Golden Gate Bridge dream was completed in 2023, when marine grade stainless steel nets were completed on both sides of the bridge… demonstrating the power of possibility over apathy. The following article documents our 2024 swimming adventure with sea lions, which was truly outstanding.

When we approached the sea lion rookery in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, the younger sea lions greeted us with joyful enthusiasm. The bull males barked protectively and made it clear we were not allowed any closer than 25 yards to their rookery. The bulls formed a picket line and cruised back and forth at that same distance. They watched us carefully so we wouldn’t get too close but allowed their whole clan to swim with us without interfering except for a few breeding females they keep tight reins upon. The following message was received in meditation the following mourning after these pictures and videos were taken. Both of the videos provided below were filmed by myself.

 

Yes, we are the sea lions you swam with yesterday. We want to thank you for your loving energy. Yes, we are sensitive to love and all your healing abilities for we thrive on joy and love. We try to embody these energies everyday just like dolphins maintain. Yes, there are other animals in the sea like ourselves, that specialize in joy like the dolphins.

The males in our species are very protective. The reason you saw one of our beachmasters barking and maneuvering some of our breeding females in our group away from your group was merely a protective response. This is not a problem for us because they are doing the best they can to protect our colony. The young lion in the following video sensed the love in your heart and wanted to soak it up. The love you and your group shared and those that read this article will resonate in his template for some time to come.

 

 

Sea lions always include play into our daily life and interacting with humans with your poor swimming skills provide us with an opportunity to show you what’s possible in the water. To dive into the depths and come up for air with all four of our limbs working together in peace, love and harmony like our whale friends is truly…our joy.

Allison Ehrke swimming with a sea lion

We provide the balance in nature to see the world as it is and then move to possibility. This concept is perhaps our greatest gift to you and whoever reads this article. Yes, we were hunted by fisherman almost to extinction but have always been connected to our heart. We greet you with open fins and flippers, just as you did with your hands and legs. Our limbs demonstrate the grace and possibility to do and become anything our heart desires. Everyone wants the grace, peace, and serenity you see in us when we play with you by darting around, gliding with grace and ease while we hold you lovingly in our heart and soul. We encourage you to hold these similar energies towards people you do not like initially. Go over to them, look them in the eye, embrace them with your heart and soul as we do with you and then swim with them in spirit or hold their hand if they are scared. Give others food when they are hungry. Then watch the world open to your gift like you saw us gravitate towards everyone in your group in the video below that documents this experience.

It is easy to think others are strange or ignore them because they are not your preferred type or ilk. It is important to remember this is never the case because we all came from the same place, from one love and live on one planet. Of course, there are other planets and beings throughout the universe. But the formula is the same for everyone everywhere.  Give love, be love, be joy, give whatever joy you have, be present, be loving, love others, give others what is needed and you will never be poor again. Not just never financially poor, but you will never be spiritually poor or lacking for love. We loved swimming with your group and the time we spent together with all of you. When your group decided to leave to go back to your boat, we were disappointed…but we have the following message for everyone.

Do not think small but think of everything and everyone around you. There are no creatures large or small that are not the apple of the divine’s eye within our bountiful universe. No being is too small or so unworthy of your love, who doesn’t need a gentle nudging to become more of what they are. Sea lions are the angels of possibility. Come to us when you are down and depressed. Let us swim into your hearts, glide around you with boundless grace and ease. Let possibility creep into your heart when none existed before. Some people call what we are describing as hope, but we prefer possibility, because it never includes lack. Possibility is our gift to you and we encourage everyone who reads this article and watches our video to dive into the world of possibility to expand your heart’s desire.

Possibility,

Love from the Sea Lions

Click on Ryan Bergeron’s story below to read about Kevin’s sea lion that saved his life that resulted in his decision to dedicate his life to create suicide prevention nets on the Golden Gate Bridge.

[1]Bergeron, Ryan (12 August 2019). “He jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and survived. Now, he’s seeing his wish for a safety net come true”CNN. Retrieved 17 August 2019.

Extra Credit:

My daughter Allison Ehrke and Rupert Paterson filmed the following videos of seal lions in the Galapagos in 2023.

 

Mother and newborn Galapagos sea lion.

 

 

Rupert Paterson being asked to leave his seaside lounge by a Galapagos sea lion.