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

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, crashing from 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 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 but found him instead.

Duffy grabbed his cellphone and 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 and has grown up around the marine environment. He'd heard of sea lions getting onto boats, but going down below?

"Totally bizarre," he said, adding: "Sea lions can be cute, but they can be dangerous. You've got to be careful (because) 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 and 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 and 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 and swam fine and it was seemingly no stranger to humans.

Duffy, an advertising copywriter, said he nicknamed the pup "Gilligan" 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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COMMENTS (54)
  • gianna307
    5/15/2015 - 02:24 p.m.

    that is so nice for that lade to take care of that baby sea lion most people will hit the sea lion to get out of there house that was so nice for her and the sea lion

  • Jpaul29
    5/15/2015 - 02:46 p.m.

    This expierience would have been a lot scarier if that was a full grown Sea Lion. I've seen a full grown Sea Lion in person and these animals are a lot more intimidating then we make them out to be. They have huge teeth and are massive.

  • Jpaul29
    5/15/2015 - 02:47 p.m.

    This expierience would have been a lot scarier if that was a full grown Sea Lion. I've seen a full grown Sea Lion in person and these animals are a lot more intimidating then we make them out to be. They have huge teeth and are massive.

  • christianhv
    5/15/2015 - 02:50 p.m.

    It's adorable and cool to find a sea lion on a boat! I think the sea lion got there by jumping on and wiggling down, but why did the sailor not hear him/her get down there? It's still cool to find a sea lion down in your boat and I wish I were in that situation where I could see a sea lion in my boat.

  • benjif-2
    5/15/2015 - 03:56 p.m.

    A sailor name Michael Duffy was on aboard a 50 ft boat on mothers day. He woke up at 2:30 am in the morning to snoring an sneezing. There was a seal in his room and Michael was very surprised and was scared. He made roommate friends with the seal. This article was a very cool one.

  • JackS-4
    5/15/2015 - 03:58 p.m.

    Michael Duffy had a bit of a surprise on Mother's day. He found a young baby seal on one of the bunks on his boat. The seal was probably looking for it's mom, he said. He lat the seal go later and it swan away just fine.

    I would want to at least help the seal before sending it back out into the ocean. I think it would be funny to see a seal in one of your bunks.

  • kayaf-2
    5/15/2015 - 04:37 p.m.

    On Mother's day a forty-eight year old man, Michael Duffy, found a baby sea lion on this boat. He had heard the pup sneezing and snoring in the early morning hours but, he thought it was a friend who past out. He woke up that morning to a sea lion curled up on a bunk. I think this is pretty cool, I couldn't imagine waking up to a cute baby sea lion on my boat.

  • AlexisSS-1
    5/15/2015 - 04:52 p.m.

    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. A sea lion was aboard his ship. The sea lion was just a baby. Duffy got the sea lion to leave his boat, but if he were an adult, he might not have left. I think it was a great thing that happened and I would have kept it as a pet aboard my ship.

  • Ndemucci-3
    5/15/2015 - 05:57 p.m.

    this article was about a man named Michael Duffy, 48, woke up at 2:30 a.m. on Mother's Day to sounds of something sleeping. A sea lion was on his ship the sea lion the boat. I think it was a great thing that happened and I would have kept it as a pet aboard my ship. this shows the amount of sea lions that are in the southern part of California.

  • SadieB-1
    5/15/2015 - 07:34 p.m.

    Michael Duffy awoke at 2:30 on Mother's Day Morning to loud snoring and sneezing. He went back to sleep and woke up a few hours later to find that a 35-pound sea lion pup was sleepily waking up on his board shorts. As he coaxed the pup up the stairs, Duffy was taking pictures and filming. Duffy says he felt very attached to the sea lion, but kept his distance because it was a wild animal. I think this is awesome and i would love for it to happen to me.

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