Diving with the puppies of the sea

“Are you guys going diving as well?” I asked the couple in the Scuba Duba diving shop in Puerto Madryn as we were given our wetsuits. I had seen them filling out the same form as me when they got in and figured they wouldn’t need to do that if they were just going snorkeling.

“Yes”, she answered and started to speak to me in Norwegian. The Norwegian startled me and I took a proper look at the couple in front of me. I knew these guys – I had met them in Puerto Natales after I finished the Torres del Paine trek – and I couldn’t for my bare life understand why I hadn’t recognized them straight away. Maybe it was because I was so thrilled to go diving again after almost a year – and not just any dive, but a dive with wild sea lions – that I didn’t really register anything around me. Or maybe it was because the dive shop was dimly lit, or because I wasn’t really suspecting to meet anyone I knew from down south in Patagonia in Puerto Madryn. But here they were, and we were going diving together. Life is full of surprises and coincidences.

When I was in New Zealand I snorkeled with dolphins. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life; the only thing I wished for was to be able to go under the water instead of just floating on top of it. The thick wetsuit that protected us against the icy cold water also prevented us from diving into the deep blue. You could try as hard you wished but you’d never go deeper than half a meter, maybe a meter if you made a really, really hard attempt, before you floated straight back up to the surface – always looking down at the action.

When I realized that you could actually go diving with sea lions in Puerto Madryn I knew that was something I definitely would have to do. I love diving, and I love animals, and sea lions are just the cutest creatures ever (supposedly not the males though, but the females and kids are curious and playful), with their big round eyes they definitely look like the puppies of the sea.

It’s not a deep dive, 4-5 meters or so, you don’t swim around with them – you stay at the same spot pretty much the whole time, only moving around when the visibility gets too bad – but you are under water, at level with and below the beautiful and gracious creatures.Sometimes they come and check you out and are off again at once, sometimes they stay for a while, nibble at your fins, dance in front of you. Apparently they love bubbles, and so do I! What a perfect match.

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