During surveys I often work in very low visibility. At times I can only see a couple feet in front of me, other times I have to rely primarily on my sense of touch to navigate along the bottom substrate. It’s strange feeling being in a liquid environment without the ability to see. I often close my eyes and hum to myself as I use my fingers and feet to navigate the sea floor. I remember once feeling the jaws of a sea lion slowly clench around my entire head. It was gentle, but I didn’t want to make any sudden movements incase I alarmed the creature. From what I could feel, this sea lion must have been over 10ft long! I curled into a ball and it slowly let go of me and then disappeared into the darkness. It was like the sea lion was trying to prove to me, that she’s the master of this environment but my presence has been temporary accepted. I continued my survey, and 30 minutes later I was greeted by the light of day at the surface of the water.
Image by Richard Salas.