In putting together two pages on Godfrey Stephen’s little sailboat for Tiny Homes On the Move, I came across this photo (in the 600+ photos he has sent me over the years), and asked him about it. This happened in the ’80s, when he was sailing down the Pacific Coast for Mexico.
Lloyd, after leaving Avalon, Santa Catalina…I anchored for the night off Dana Point.… Under way early in the madrugada (way way more beautiful a word for dawn), this little Merbeing, after several attempts, came bashing with a huge splat right under the safety pipe rails onto the steel deck. I raced below looking for the camera, wood stove going, coffee on the make, self steering set, (my sailboat) s/v Mungo sliding toward San Diego. In the noise of looking for the camera, this creature (later told is a stellar sea lion by its ears )
found her way to the top of the hard dodger.
On stepping into the cockpit, what greeted me was a growl and very bad breath! After a while shooing her away because, if the boat jibed, the mains’l boom would have clocked her. Chasing her flopping up the deck to the starboard bow. She started sleeping. I stroked her incredibly soft fur. Nothing to feed her.
In the quiet of sailing, I could could feel her heart beat (faintly echoing) in the metal deck. She slipped silently over the side just off the Scripps Institute—amazing. Suddenly I felt so incredibly alone.