Big Deep - An Ocean Podcast

Dancing with Sea Lions: Lindsay Pullin on how a dive with Sea Lions in a kelp forest held a deeper connection

December 23, 2019 Hosts Jason Elias and Paul Kelway Season 1 Episode 12
Big Deep - An Ocean Podcast
Dancing with Sea Lions: Lindsay Pullin on how a dive with Sea Lions in a kelp forest held a deeper connection
Chapters
Big Deep - An Ocean Podcast
Dancing with Sea Lions: Lindsay Pullin on how a dive with Sea Lions in a kelp forest held a deeper connection
Dec 23, 2019 Season 1 Episode 12
Hosts Jason Elias and Paul Kelway

Dancing With Sea Lions: Lindsay Pullin on how a dive with Sea Lions in a kelp forest held a deeper connection

Show Notes Transcript

Dancing With Sea Lions: Lindsay Pullin on how a dive with Sea Lions in a kelp forest held a deeper connection

Hosts:

Hi and welcome to the big deep podcast. Big deep is a podcast about people who have a connection to the ocean, people for whom that connection is so strong, it defined some aspect of their life. Over the course of the series, we'll talk to all sorts of people. And in each episode we'll explore the deeper meaning of that connection. In this episode we speak with someone about a truly memorable dive coming face to face with one of California's most playful ocean residents. Hello, this Paul Kelway and I'm Jason Elias. Welcome to the big deep podcast.

Paul Kelway:

One of the things we often ask when doing an interview is what's your most memorable experience in the ocean and why? When we asked Lindsay Pullin, a dive master from Southern California, she described a playful and magical meeting with sea lions amongst the kelp forests of Laguna beach.

Jason Elias:

What was it about that day or about that specific dive that makes it one of your most favorite dives ever? What's the way if you were to describe the feelings you were left with after that day? Can you just talk me through that?

Lindsay Pullin:

Yeah. The one that definitely keeps coming back to me is this dive, I was in Southern California, Laguna beach. So the beach is called Crescent Cove and there's a rock out there called seal rock, which is kind of a misnomer because mostly sea lions are there. And we got up really early. We didn't invite anyone else. Conditions didn't look to be that good, but we decided we were going to go anyway. We just wanted to go. It was cold. It's probably in the fifties. I was definitely kind of wondering when we were going to get out, we can go have coffee. And the visuals aren't great, like I said, so we swam through this kelp forest. We just weren't really seeing a lot. Yeah, and we made it to seal rock and once we got there, they were just five or six sea lions who were so interactive and playful and interested in us that it just turned the entire dive around. They are so curious and so interactive and so playful diving with them, it's my favorite thing in the world. It's one of the reasons I keep diving so much in Southern California because diving with sea lions is just an incredible experience. They play with you, they talk to you, they swim up to you and you feel you're really connecting with them. These sea lions, they're wild animals and they're swimming up to you. They blow bubbles at you, they bark at you, but a lot of times what you're seeing is playfulness and curiosity as they approach you. There's definitely ways that you can interact with them that are just incredible. You can look at them. Sometimes the younger ones will come up and touch your m ask. They will touch you. The older ones, they're a little more cautious. They're a little smarter about humans sometimes, you know, they come and they blow bubbles in your face and you just, why are they doing that? O r you think they're doing it because I'm blowing bubbles too. If you dig in the sand, they'll come and dig in the sand. If you r ollover, they'll come and roll over or they'll swim at you and play chicken a nd kind of turn at the last second blow bubbles in your face. They really do seem to be mimicking you.

Jason Elias:

Was there a sense is that, is that one of the things that really made that dive so memorable was the sense of connection? Is that what you're talking about?

Lindsay Pullin:

Yeah, it was the sense of connection. They spent so much time with us. They could have left at any moment. They could have just hold themselves out on the rock and sunbathed but they seem to be there for us and they were so graceful and beautiful. It's almost like seeing a painting to see them move. And they kind dance with you too, which is something that I've always really enjoyed. Because growing up I was a dancer. They come up to you and they dance with you, they roll with you and you can kind of mimic what they're doing and they mimic it back to you. It feels amazing to communicate with this wild animal. They have these very powerful front flippers, so they're super adept at turning whenever they want to turn and rolling whenever they want to roll. It does remind me of ballet in so many ways because they look like they're about to do one thing and then they just use all this force and strength and grace to turn or to twist or to move or even break the surface of the water and come back down so quickly. They also , they have these huge eyes. As they get closer you can really see what they're looking at and sort of what, what you think that they're intending to do. Part of me, It feels like they're playing with you and part of me just feels like they just enjoy it so much. They just like the movement. They are just the most graceful, quick, amazing beings that you can see under water. It's incredible. We got out of that dive and just all of us just felt so elated. I carried that feeling with me for weeks afterwards. It just, it really felt like we connected with them. Yeah, that's what I always remember about that.

Jason Elias:

So kelp forests are big here in Southern California. Theres a lot of forests off the coast and for people who've never dived in kelp forests, it's essentially where kelp is anchored to the ocean for about 80 feet below and then it grows up to the surface and you can swim through it as if you're flying through a forest. What is it about kelp forests? It comes up again and again with a number of people. For you what is it about that forest that , is it magical, amazing, what is it?

Lindsay Pullin:

Yeah, I do hear a lot of people say they don't understand kelp forests. They don't get it. They don't see the appeal of it because it kind of looks mysterious from the surface and, and you know it is a little disorienting going inside of a kelp forest . But kelp forests are really special. And if you come to a kelp forest, you're going to see fish that live in there. So it's sort of like this refuge for animals. There's activity happening. But it's also like going into a cathedral. When you dive into one, it's sort of open and you see the kelp forest coming up and you swim into it. And the visibility just gets better. The fish come out and the light trickling through the kelp, especially the canopy when it's folded over the top, the light really is like, it's coming through a stained glass window. So it is just, it's pretty magical to see. If you glide in very mindfully, you can pass through sort of unnoticed and it's just, it's really beautiful to see.

Jason Elias:

But it also, you've mentioned the spiritual aspect of it, so I'm curious, is there a spiritual connection or something like that for you here?

Lindsay Pullin:

So when I go diving, it's not so much about the equipment or how deep I can go or how long we're going to go in. It's more about how it's gonna make me feel. It's physically very tiring, which I enjoy. It's also very fulfilling like filling up your inner cup. When you get an experience like diving with sea lions or just seeing something really unique. No one else got to experience that. No one else saw that you are the one who saw that, you're the only reason that it was witnessed in that moment and you get to carry that with you. It is something spiritual. I myself, I'm an atheist, so the closest that I ever got to these connected feelings was being underwater , being outside, being outdoors. Diving is really a chance, just like the quickest way to get that feeling. You Just put your gear on, walk into the water and boom, you're there. You can just go and your wetsuit and the only thing that you can hear is yourself. You're just there. That's sort of been my meditation, my direct path to nature, to feeling connected to my surroundings. It does feel pretty spiritual. It provides a lot of solace. I can go in and have a pretty spiritual experience by myself and then come back and go about my day looking at people like you'll never believe what I just saw. So it just manifested itself to me where I was like, I have to get in there, I have to be there, I have to experience it kind of firsthand. I want to get wet. I want to put my face in the water and want my.... I want to get my hair wet. Putting my hands and my toes in the sand and thinking about where that water was coming from and and what creatures were lying underneath it and what they were seeing, how it was connecting me to pretty much everybody else that was on the planet. I leave myself salty most of the time because it's like, well, why am I going to , why am I going to rinse this off? I'm just going to go back in.

Paul Kelway:

Finally we end every interview and every episode by asking a single open ended question of everyone we talked with. What does the ocean mean to you?

Lindsay Pullin:

So I was born in Southern California and I have probably not spent more than 30 days away from the water. It is what grounds me. It is what centers me. It's where I go when I'm upset. I just have to walk three blocks and I can sit and watch the sunset. I'm looking at swell models when I'm at work and I'm walking to the beach just to see sort of, Oh, what does , what does the water look like behind the brick wall today? Or Oh, they said this one was going be it . What does it really look like? Or let's you know, let's see what this wind action is doing to the water now. It's just such a big part of me so I don't know exactly what it means to be. I just know that it's a huge part of me and that if it wasn't there, I don't know who I would be without it.

Hosts:

Thank you for listening to the big deep podcast. Next time on big deep , "You normally don't find anything unless your hand hits it and then once your hand touches it, then your brain is saying rock tree bottle and then all of a sudden...gun. Imagine finding a murder weapon and that murder weapon is the key to the arrest and a bad guy goes to jail." We really appreciate you being with us on this journey to the big deep as we explore the notion of stories. If you like what you're doing, please make sure to subscribe, like, and comment on or showing iTunes, overcast, SoundCloud, or wherever you catch your podcasts. But those subscribes and likes really make a difference for more interviews, deeper discussions with our guests, photos and updates on anything you've heard. There's a lot more content at our website, bigdeep.com plus, if you know someone you think we should talk to, just let us know at the big deep website is we are always looking to hear more stories from interesting people who are deeply connected to our world's oceans. Thanks again for joining us.