Along my worldly travels, I’ve found that one thing people tend to get pretty passionate about is making sure you know the difference between certain types of animals. If you’re in northern Canada, don’t call the massive horned creatures Buffalo, they’re Bison. If you’re in the amazon, don’t scream “Leopard!!”, it’s a jaguar. If you’re in the Galapagos and lounging on the beach with a huge pinniped, it’s not a seal, it’s a sea lion.
Now, I’ve always thought both seals and sea lions were pretty freaking cute, but then again, I’d always kind of clumped them together as being kind of the same animal. I quickly learned however, that sea lions are far superior for several reasons:
- Their hind-flippers are configured in a way that helps them maneuver on land so they can join you for a tanning session (seals are stuck just kind of flailing around)
- They have full earflaps (instead of just holes), so you can whisper sweat little nothings back and forth
- They swim the water with power and majesty using their strong front fins (seals front fins are weak and can only be used for steering)
- They’re the LIONS of the sea! Were the other points really even necessary!?
I got to visit a number of beaches around the islands, and each of them seemed to be popular hangout spots for local sea lions. While they seemed pretty chilled out and relaxed on land, as soon as you hopped in the water with them, their energy levels seemed to burst into overdrive and I found myself being given ocean tours by big groups of them, bopping around and swimming circles around me.
Altogether, it seemed like a pretty sweet life and I decided that if I should ever get re-incarnated as an animal, a Galapagan sea lion seemed like a pretty solid way to go!