Shiver, shiver, brrrrrrrr: Scribbles from Sea Lion Point Trail

Had one of those, "Oh my with a shiver" moments this past three day weekend.  While scoping with Paul Reps during a wonderfully busy day for visitors (human type and grey whale type alike), we looked down into Sea Lion Cove and stared in disbelief.  As involuntary shudders ran down our spines, we spotted a swimmer - but of the human persuasion!  All of the sights and sounds around us just disappeared.  The whales and otters and sea lions and harbor seals and cormorants and brown pelicans and red tailed hawks faded away.  Visitors and docents all, we shook our heads in amazement (and continued to shudder), as Paul and I wondered ... what the heck do we do??  A check of the Point Lobos State Reserve Regulations brochure found no prohibition against swimming in a location with legal entry (not "off trail").  And the Dive Regulations (brochure and on the PLF website) prohibits snorkeling at China Cove and Gibson Beach, but again, no swimming restriction to be found.  With no otters or seals in the Cove, we eventually relaxed, especially when our swimmer made a U turn back to the beach after 10 minutes or so.
It turns out our swimmer, Valeryi, was visiting from Russia, and 55 degree water didn't faze him at all.  Personally, I was numb (and turning blue) just watching him.  It also turns out his family was standing with us.  But instead of smiling and laughing in disbelief, they had amused, "what are ya gonna do" smiles.  Truly, a memorable day for Valeryi, his family, and all who were there!  Once again, there's something new and different each visit to the Reserve.  And then it was back to the nursing otter in the scope and the grey whale pods spouting just past Sea Lion Rocks.  "Oh my" and definitely with a shiver.

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