Tag: sea lions

The Gift of Laughter

The Gift of Laughter

SimoneLipscomb (2)The golden moon glade glittered brilliantly on the smooth sea. Flat, calm with only the slightest stirring of the surface, each ripple was a stair step toward meeting Her. In the distance She hung low in the sky, illuminating the pre-dawn sky. I timidly took a step toward the round, ripe Sea Moon Goddess and as I moved slowly toward Her, I left behind my earthly form and rose up on the wings of light.

_TSL6631An ending to a week of beauty and laughter so profound I feel transformed and more at home in my body than ever before. Each of the brothers and sisters I traveled with brought gifts and one connection in particular sparked a flame of laughter and joy that opened dark, closed places. The flame of light grew through liquid laughter that brought me back to life. Salt water, fresh water, floating fun-filled stories suspended in moments between sea and sky brought joy and laughter that invited me home.

_TSL6322I expected to enjoy diving with sea lions, snorkeling with whale sharks, attempting to capture the beauty of nature through underwater photography. I expected to meet people who would become friends. These expectations became realities.

_TSL6836The biggest surprise was feeling joy and laughter grow within me like a shooting star burning more brilliant with each breath. The number of side-splitting, snorting hilarities were too numerous to count…on the boat, at meals, floating in the pool, standing at the rinse bins.

_TSL7177I didn’t realize how my soul yearned for free and unbridled expression of joy. Too often we lose that connection within that keeps us in touch with our lightness of being.

_TSL7125This is the first trip in years on which I didn’t write extensively and in detail. This time I determined to simply stay present with the experience…watching the sun rise over the mountains, diving with sea lions and giant balls of silver fish, floating head to head with massive whale sharks…be present….be present…breathe.

_TSL7070My regular meditation practice, exercising and other daily rituals were set aside. The only consistent practice I did was to acknowledge beauty, open my heart and mind to it and feel the reciprocal return flow fill me. The more I sent love out to the arid mountains, the sea and creatures of the sea, the more love I felt fill me. This helped move the old, stuck patterns of behavior to a new, lighter expression of life that is all-inclusive of the darkest and lightest parts of myself.

_TSL7357As I fly over the desert of Baja and the Sea of Cortez, I already feel the absence of the physical presence of my new friends…one a brother who feels like another piece of stardust from the home planet. The gifts each one brought to my life are held within, treasures of light and laughter that will continue to transform me.

_TSL6851With a grateful heart full of love I promise myself to remember my happy place, the many happy places discovered on this magical adventure to Baja and the Sea of Cortez.

Los Islotes ShotMany locals say La Paz and Cabo San Lucas are greener than they’ve ever seen due to rain amounts 300% above normal. The many seeds and plants that waited in the dry, hot desert until nourishing rains supported their growth amaze me. There is a new understanding within of how it feels to burst forth in new growth when the right nourishment arrives. Laughter is a priceless gift and those who bring it are angels of light….whether in human or non-human form.


Sea of Cortez V

Sea of Cortez V

_TSL5322Wednesday…I think

It’s a good adventure when the date is lost and the day of the week is unknown.

Another day at Isla San Pedro Martir. The first dive was in a little cavern swim through. We begin by going under and into the massive rock that makes this mountain island. Seven o’clock in the morning and we’re going into and under rock…a delightful way to begin the day.

Starfish and moray eel
starfish and moray eel

At the end of the dive I ascend to a shallow depth and hover. A beautiful, small moray eel is hiding deep in a rocky crevice. I mentally tell him I am not going to harass or hurt him. Then tears come. It feels as if the entire planet is hiding from the continued assaults on It from humans. I feel very sad that two-legged’s can be so aggressive and domineering.

_TSL5291Out of the blue, the person that continues to chase animals comes by chasing another turtle. I scream at him underwater. Another diver sees me and nods in agreement.

Then another encounter with a turtle and a nice dive buddy videoing her. We have a very pleasant and peaceful encounter with the turtle and each other. Complete contrast within a few minutes. I feel such mixed emotions.

_TSL5128It’s difficult for me to stay peaceful and compassionate when people harass animals.

_TSL5323On the way back to the boat, Juleo takes our panga into a perfectly formed arch. It reminds me of a chapel by appearance and energy. I think it’s a chapel for the Great Sea Mother. It feels like a central point of light for the entire region. I need the sweet energy of the chapel after feeling so upset by the aggressive diver.

I rename the island Capilla de la Mar…Chapel of the Sea. It seems to fit better than being named after some saint who came along long after the original occupant of the island…the Great Sea Goddess.

One the second dive I feel the calming influence of Cappilla de la Mar and the magnificent feminine energy presence. I hear, “Yes, child. Even here you are mine. Your love translates to all waters of the planet.”

A bull sea lion comes down to check us out but doesn’t bark. He just cruises us.

_TSL5283While diving I ponder the idea of aggressive, argumentative, arrogant people and I cringe. So opposite of what I want to attract to my life. The sea lions teach me about joy and I know there is choice about what kind of people I bring into my life.

Toward the end of the second dive a tiny, tiny black and yellow puffer fish comes up to mask and hovers at my nose. The precious little creature doesn’t appear upset but simply stays at my nose and makes eye contact. Such a brave, little soul. An explorer of her kind.

Dive deck...blue-footed booby took a walk through
dive deck…blue-footed booby took a walk through

After lunch I’m walking along the starboard side of the boat and encounter a blue-footed booby walking toward me. He can’t spring up over the rail to fly so I run around, through the center of the boat, and come out another door behind him. I gently coax him to the stern of the boat, through the dive deck, down the stairs to the platform where he watches the pangas floating behind the boat. He hesitates, a wave washes over his feet, and then he takes off. No camera. Nobody to even witness this amazing encounter so it’s just the booby’s word and mine. We have a nice conversation, although it was rather one-sided.

After the third dive and dinner, friends are diving and I once-again ride along to watch the moonrise over the sea. The brilliant orange and turquoise hues of the sunset are fading as we motor the short distance in the panga.

_TSL5199The almost half moon light casts a beautiful, soft, white glow on the huge, white cliffs. It seems as if the entire island is alive with white light.

So quiet and peaceful it is on the water, in the shadow of the moon cliff. I feel so at home here. The thought of civilization makes me break out in anxious waves of dread. Civilization is so over-rated.

I manage to stay in the present moment and forget being anywhere but here, in the shadow of a glowing, ragged mountain rising up from the sea.

The moonlight grows in intensity and as we drift, I glance up and see an enormous shadow on the mountain created by the cliff face and moonlight. It appears to be a woman standing with her arms outstretched facing the sea. We are near the Capilla de la Mar arch. In my mind she appears to have long, flowing hair of seaweed with a leather band holding it at her forehead. Her skirt is woven of feathers and dried strands of sea weed and bits of shells. Her tunic is woven of white shells and pearls. Her outstretched palms face the sea she she says, Come to me.

In a moment a female sea lion exhales close to the boat, comes up and touches the boat and stays with us for a while. The magical woman and the sea lion seem connected.

I sense the Great Mother as the giver of life, love and joy…the light that comes from unparalleled joy.

Phosphorescent jelly fish illuminate the surface of the black water. Their other-worldly green strands float in the cove, in the sea in wild geometries. They appear as beacons of Her light…her joy.  My joy.


Sea of Cortez I

Sea of Cortez II

Sea of Cortez III

Sea of Cortez IV



Sea of Cortez IV…Beware the Inner Kraken!

Sea of Cortez IV…Beware the Inner Kraken!

IMG_0372Tuesday July 21st, 2015

The second largest sea lion colony in the Sea of Cortez is located at our current location. The island is dark brown rock and covered with bird droppings that make it appear as thick icing on a cake. Strange metaphor perhaps.

Isla San Pedro Martir is one of the most remote islands in the Sea of Cortez. There are little stone walls built  in the ‘V’ areas of the mountain and after inquiry I find that in the late 19th and early 20th century the bird guano (poop) was mined and shipped as far as Europe to be used as fertilizer. No kidding…there is a LOT of ‘white icing’ on this mountain island.

_TSL5051Diving Pacific waters, even a body of water like the Sea of Cortez, is so different from Caribbean diving. There is no hard coral reef but rather rocks and underwater cliffs. It looks very different yet supports an amazing variety of life, including soft corals and colorful fish.

_TSL5075Taking it easy another day by snorkeling on dive two. I bring along my GoPro instead of The Beast, my big Nikon/Aquatica camera and housing, and finally give up the GoPro to just play with sea lions. As I float and frolic in the 86 degree water in shorts and a rash guard, I am blissed to the max.

_TSL5142Turning somersaults, doing barrel rolls and other silly antics lights up the already playful pinnipeds. The more I play, the more they come play with me. They come so close that our eyes make contact. Beautiful, round, big eyes gazing into mine creates a lot of joy within this two-legged gal.

I watch divers ten feet or so below me for a while as they interact with the marine mammals and decide to leave the protection of the cove and swim along the wall of the island. As I do, nine (yes…9) sea turtles greet me. Because I’m not making bubbles on scuba they come incredibly close and of course my GoPro is on the boat. In pairs, trios or solo they cruise by me. One green sea turtle doesn’t hear or see me and comes within inches of my mask…until I giggle. The sound scares her and she jumps and moves away from the giggling flotsam.

Gil, our dive master, greeting the sea lions.
Gil, our dive master, greeting the sea lions.

The final dive of the day is epic. It’s near the end of the hour-long submersion and the huge male sea lion that has barked the entire dive, rushes our dive master and makes a couple of us gasp at the aggression. No biting or contact but it is an intense rush of big male sea lion energy. We settle ourselves and become very still and the girls dive in to play.

_TSL5156I cannot EVER recall having this much fun. Female sea lions twirling and zooming right up to me, within inches of my own twirling hands and barrel rolling self. I think Zoom is the only speed they know. Completely hilarious and crazy fun. And I am in awe at the lightning fast speed and agility of these creatures. I feel like a complete klutz compared to them.

Photo bombed by a sea turtle
Photo bombed by a sea turtle..well, I never!

Since I’m feeling better I got to do three dives today. While that’s wonderful, I saw bad diver behavior that is worth mentioning…if only to pass along the stories for divers that might be tempted to misbehave.

A good dive buddy, Eladio, checking his Aquatica housing for video perfection.

Cruising along a wall on dive two, I glance up to see a huge sea turtle swimming very hard and she looked upset. I’ve never seen a sea turtle so angry-looking. And she was flying…never seen one go so fast. What in the world could have scared that turtle? I wonder. A few moments later a guy that had been aggressively swimming after everything that moved came behind the turtle. No excuse for that kind of harassment. Why is it that some humans think because they have two legs and a camera they can behave atrociously toward wildlife? (The remaining comments about his behavior are safely recorded in my journal and not printable).

Never found out which diver this is but she was crushing soft coral without concern...grrr.
Never found out who this is but she is crushing soft coral without concern.

On an earlier dive today I photographed a woman laying on soft coral seemingly without a care as she attempted to photograph some poor creature. I’ll finish my mini-rant with this: If you can’t control your buoyancy, leave the camera on the boat until you can hover without squishing soft coral and the homes of other creatures…or the creatures themselves. Hone your dive skills so you don’t kill more than you photograph. And if you think it’s okay to pull, tug, chase or otherwise harass marine creatures…it’s NOT! But don’t listen to me….one day, when one takes a bite out of your hand or your neck or your leg, please don’t whine or complain.

Me and the Sea...the Sea of Cortez
Me and the Sea…the Sea of Cortez…before releasing my inner Kraken.


My main concern about coming on this trip was it was advertised as an underwater photography trip. Photographers who take their craft underwater can be notoriously destructive and aggressive. I saw those behaviors but I also saw very caring, loving individuals who have total respect for ocean life and have good dive skills as well. Never, ever should ‘getting a shot’ outweigh decent and respectful underwater behavior. I am generally a very peace-loving, laid-back person but don’t mess with sea life because you will awaken my Inner Kraken.


Sea of Cortez I

Sea of Cortez II

Sea of Cortez III





Sea of Cortez–Part Three

Sea of Cortez–Part Three

_TSL5004Monday July 20th

We are motoring south. The engine started at 4am. It’s 7am and we are still near Angel de la Guarda. Two seal gulls are riding on the bow of a panga. A nice way to travel from one place to the next if you are a bird…a smart bird.

The mountain that is this island is persistent in its beauty. More gradual slopes toward the sea on this eastern side of it but still very craggy and tall. Unbelievably tall. The color of rock is more even here with red standing out strongly. There is some striation but not the rainbow colors of the mountains yesterday.

_TSL5006As we draw closer to the southernmost tip of Angel de la Guarda its massive face affects me deeply. Again I am struck with awe…to my core. There is a V in the face that reminds me of open arms.

We move closer and it feels as if we will be consumed by this beautiful mountain. I need to go eat breakfast but find myself unable to leave my perch on the deck. I watch the massive mountain come closer and closer.

Stones and dust fade into wrinkles and colors of earth, sacred Earth, whose face is marked with smile lines created when She laughs at wind, sea lions frolicking and tides kissing Her beautiful self.

These bones bake in the sun and cleanse me in Her reflective glow. Her white-chalk, pock-marked bones  are whiter still from nesting shore birds. Red, pink, salmon, rust, orange, roughened, weathered, ragged by forces beyond control…lay bare these bones.

Layers and layers of color and texture open to elemental forces so powerful only mountains such as this could behold them and manage a wrinkled grin.

_TSL5016The vast, ragged peaks stretch all around me. At first glance they are barren in red, rust and white-stained splendor yet upon closer observation the details emerge. Green patches of life exist in this magical place following lines of finely-ground particles of rock. Tufts of tender, determined vegetation cling to fissures and slides and their roots go deep causing even more breakdown of hard substrate, creating a welcoming home for their offspring. Whether they consciously plan for the future or it it is just the genius of their living matters not.

Only 36 hours after torrential rains fell and already the mountain slopes grow greener. By the hour, these rugged, rocky slopes become robed in verdant softness.

Could it be that I, too, soften as my dry bones greedily suck nourishment from the life-giving waters and the blue heart of the Sea?

_TSL5042A sea lion barks the entire second dive and I learn that they can bark underwater…incessantly. Like a controlling man bellowing at his wife, the males are very protective and territorial with their harem of females. When a female or two escapes his control to play with us I am as happy for the free sea lions as I am for myself witnessing their agile playfulness.

The faces of the female pinnipeds are so sweet. I roll and play underwater and the more I play, the more playful they become. I think how lucky they are that few humans come here to spoil the pristine and peaceful place…and how lucky I feel to be one of the few given the chance to frolic with them.

IMG_0360I’m in the panga now with Juleo…the small-boat captain…while divers are on the night dive. The canopy of stars is brilliant with no light pollution. The Milky Way is breathtaking and grows steadily brighter as the sky darkens. Layers and layers of stars shine like gemstones flickering with stellar fire.

The sea is mostly quiet and still so the black water mirrors the sky as tiny phosphorescent dots drift on the surface. Greenish globs extend into the dark water until they merge with the glade of the crescent moon and disappear into its brilliance.

_TSL5143Nearby the exhalation of a sea lion catches my attention and my heart as she swims around the panga looking at us. Sweet words pour from my heart as I send love her way.

It may take a while to understand how this magnificent sky of stars and galaxies will change me, but without a doubt it will. I feel it deeply in my bones.

The small rock reaching from the sea floor to the heavens, frosted white with bird droppings, is only a silhouette against the setting moon. I, too, reach for the heavens and with a grateful heart bid goodnight to the Sea, stars, moon, krill and sea lions. Sleep well dear ones.


Sea of Cortez–Part One

Sea of Cortez–Part Two