Don’t you just love it when you can meet animals in their own habitat and they come and see you by themselves? No enclosures and no feeding, animals that are curious and come and have a look, or even better: interaction.
In a little place called Jurien Bay in Western-Australia I had the oppurtunity to snorkel with sea lions and it was great! Jurien Bay is just a two and a half hours drive north of Perth on the Indian Ocean Drive and is surrounded by many national parks and reserves. Jurien Bay Marine Park has pristine white sand, clear waters, offshore reefs and islands and is the home of endangered Australian sea lions, dolphins and birds.
There are less than 15,000 Australian sea lions remaining. About 40 animals live at Essex Rocks off Jurien Bay. In the towncentre you can book tours or a charter that brings you to these playful creatures. I’m not sure if it’s allowed to actually go in the water with them but our guide let it do us anyway. And I’m happy he did, it was an amazing experience!
We departed from the harbour in a little fishingboat with just 4 persons, so basically a private tour. After 20 minutes we arrived at the spot where the sea lions were sunbathing on their island. The boatrip to the island was fun as we were going fast over the clear blue ocean.
We stopped and put on our snorkelgear. The moment we jumped into the water, we already saw some sea lions looking and it didn’t take long before a whole group was swimming around us. The water is only a couple of meters deep and really calm. The sea lions were in their element and showing off with saltos and fast movements. We tried to do the same and could see that they loved that. It felt like they made fun of us because we were silly humans. With their visible ears and large eyes they look like a friendly Labrador (can I have one please?).
As they are wild animals the experience can vary, but we had a wonderful time.
Follow the guidelines like keeping a good distance, do not go on the beach occupied by sea lions and never try to touch them, but most of all: MAKE FUN!
After we played for almost an hour (I think it was an hour because time flies when your having fun) we went back into the boat and ate something. While we were in the boat, the sea lions played with eachother which was fun to watch as well. We chatted away about the experience we just had and then headed for a small tour around some of the islands in the area. Then we navigated back to the harbour. This tour was great and I would do it again anytime!
Jurien Bay Tourist
Jurien Bay is becoming bigger and it changed a lot since I came back after 8 years. It turned from a sleepy fishermenstown into a populair holidayspot with modern facilities. The best location to stay is Jurien Bay Tourist Park is only steps away from the beach, and has on-site chalets and powered & unpowered camping sites. For a campsite you pay around 35 Australian dollar per night depending on the season.