Close to Nature

I started swimming a couple of months ago. I have always been a person who could get around in the water, but I had never learned any proper swimming strokes. I was inefficient.

I had tried to take classes but without much success. I don’t really enjoy group activities, and adult swim classes tend to be pitched wrong for me. I am a pretty good athlete in general, and comfortable in the water.

I finally signed up for a series of one-on-one sessions with a coach, and it’s something I should have done years ago. Within a week or so, I was swimming regularly at Aquatic Park, an outdoor swim area with an almost 300-meter buoy line. I go a few times a week now, and I always have a good time.

Mostly. Lately the park has attracted a couple of sea lions. For several weeks, it seemed like this was limited to somewhat shy visits from a younger male, who mostly hung around just outside the swimming area. He seemed hesitant, maybe even safe.

But people have been bitten at this beach before, although rarely. The consensus on the “rogue sea lion” in 2006 was that he was somehow ill.

Well, OK, this isn't what happened, but this is about how I felt about it.

That doesn’t make me feel any better about the large, adult male sea lion that visited Aquatic Park yesterday. I saw him as I sat on the beach, about to get out of water, and I wonder how long he’d been gliding around as I was doing my 7 laps. He certainly seemed right at home, swimming well within the swimmers area, past little groups of swimmers that were still in the water, eyeing us all casually.

Here’s hoping he’s healthy and has satisfied his curiosity, and won’t be back.

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