Sailor gets snoring sea lion shipmate
Sailor gets snoring sea lion shipmate This photo provided by Michael Duffy, shows a 35-pound sea lion pup that came aboard his sailboat. At left, actor Bob Denver, center, portrayed Gilligan on TV in the 1970s (AP photos)
Sailor gets snoring sea lion shipmate
Lexile: 590L

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Mother's Day may have been a bit of a bust for a baby sea lion in San Diego. And a bit of a surprise, too.

Michael Duffy, 48, said he was on his 41-foot Kettenburg boat "Elixir" at the San Diego Yacht Club. He awoke at 2:30 a.m. on Mother's Day to sounds of sneezing and snoring.

He thought it might be a friend. Maybe someone had come aboard to sleep after a night out. But he couldn't find anyone. Once it got light a few hours later, however, he heard it again.

That's when Duffy saw a 35-pound sea lion pup. It was on another bunk. It was curled up like a dog on top of his board shorts.

"It was a tiny little guy. And I was kind of shocked. But he was basically asleep," Duffy said, guessing it was a male. "Then he heard me coming. So he kind of looked up a little bit like when a dog is sleeping and you want to wake it up and it doesn't want to wake up."

Duffy said the pup was probably looking for his mom. It found him instead.

Duffy grabbed his cellphone. He took a photo of the pup. It had already jumped down onto the cabin floor.

"You gotta go buddy, go...go, go, go," Duffy said, as he filmed. All the while, he was softly coaxing the baby sea lion back up the stairs, off the boat and into the water.

Duffy has been sailing since he was 6 years old. He grew up around the marine environment. He'd heard of sea lions getting onto boats. But not going down below.

"Totally bizarre," he said, adding: "Sea lions can be cute. But they can be dangerous. You've got to be careful. It's a wild animal."

If the sea lion had been an adult, he would have stayed away. But, he said this pup was very well behaved. It left no mess, not even seawater on his shorts.

"He was extremely well behaved, except for his loud snoring and sneezing," Duffy said. "He was looking at me. And I was like 'you gotta go.'"

He said the pup had an orange tag on its flipper. Duffy said he believed it may have once been rescued after washing onto the shore, before being set free again. The baby sea lion appeared to be healthy. It swam fine. And it was seemingly no stranger to humans.

Duffy, an advertising copywriter, said he nicknamed the pup "Gilligan." That is after the character on "Gilligan's Island" who The Skipper called his little buddy.

"It was a very personal thing. And he was a very cute guy," Duffy said. "But I was a little emotional about it. For that 2 1/2 minutes he was my little buddy."

Critical thinking challenge: Why might a sea lion want to sleep on a boat?

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Assigned 34 times

  • AlexN-Kut
    5/17/2015 - 07:43 p.m.

    when I read how sea lions could be cute but you have to be careful with them I agreed. I know that if I was stuck on a boat with a sea lion that was a adult I would be scared to death.

  • galvinc-
    5/18/2015 - 08:49 a.m.

    This story is about a sailor who woke up and heard a snoring sea lion . They took the sea lion back into the water . I think that the sea lion was sneaky when he saw the person sleeping on the ship but I it was funny that a sea lion was on a boat and it made me laugh so hard.

  • orahf-
    5/18/2015 - 08:54 a.m.

    The story was about a sea lion who went on a boat to sleep. Michael Duffy woke up and saw a sea lion on another bunk. He took a picture then he told the sea lion to leave.

  • John0724-YYCA
    5/18/2015 - 08:42 p.m.

    I think that it could have been worse because when I see those movies about sea animals the bad guys are either a shark or a sea lion and I wonder how that sea lion is so friendly or the guy could have seen it wrong because it could have been a seal because seals and sea lions do look alike. But I really wonder how the sea lion even get to the boat and I also found out today that animals could snore because I thought only people like us could snore but this sea lion snored and I want to hear it.

  • amandaf-smi
    5/19/2015 - 12:14 p.m.

    Pup it's to be good.
    Pup jump into the bed.
    Pup is snoring.
    His nick name is Gillian.
    I will not sleep with the pup

  • ryan0420-yyca
    5/19/2015 - 09:26 p.m.

    Awesome. That is a coincidence. How does a sea Lion get on a 41 feet boat. Also how come it is not scared to enter a big boat and sleep in there. The Sea lion is also very smart and knowing not to bite the human when he is trying to help him get out and find his mother. The man is also very caring because he didn't just grab him and throw him off board. He asked him to leave the boat and find his mother because he might get lost and not find his family.

  • walkerg-Pay
    5/20/2015 - 10:32 a.m.

    It would want to find a place to sleep because it may have been lonely and wanted to have someone around since he may have been lost. Duffy was a kind person to let a baby sea lion stay on his boat.

  • DillonA729
    5/20/2015 - 12:49 p.m.

    Why the heck is there a seal in a person's room he belongs in the underwater ocean not in a person's house or room.

  • annabel1226-yyca
    5/21/2015 - 08:07 p.m.

    Aww! That cute sea lion. If I was Duffy I would have keep the sea lion for couple days. But how did it get in the boat? Where was it's mom. It must have been tired because it was snoring loudly.

    Critical thinking challenge: Why might a sea lion want to sleep on a boat?
    Answer: I think it was looking for it's mom and bot tired and slept on the boat.

  • MarisaG-Kut
    5/22/2015 - 06:25 a.m.

    Because he might be so cold and don't they need warmth? Or maybe it was looking for its mum and it took on a wrong turn or something and then the sea lion just thought his mother was in there. Or he was hungry and fell asleep in there. There's plenty of reasons why he was on that boat.

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