One sailor had a life changing experience on board his boat in California when a baby sea lion jumped on deck and cuddled up to his leg.
The animal spent over half an hour with the man, J.R Gilkinson, and he has since uploaded a video of the incident to YouTube, which has gone on to amass close to 300,000 views. You can watch the heartfelt moment unfold at the bottom of the page.
Gilkinson excitedly labeled the footage, “My Life Changing Experience with a Baby Sea Lion,” before adding, “A day at sea that I will never forget!!!”
The event occurred two miles off the coast of Newport Beach in California on May 18. The footage shows the pup swim around the boat for a few laps before deciding to climb on board the vessel.
At first he is wary of Gilkinson, but he soon warms to him before deciding to move closer and then nuzzling and rubbing his head against his leg.
Gilkinson himself was as scared as the creature when the impromptu visitor arrived on his ship.
He can even be heard shouting to his 11-year-old niece to not touch the wild, moist animal. However, after several minutes, Gilkinson ignores his own advice and begins to pet the baby sea lion, who was showing an unusual amount of affection to him.
After the pair struck up their friendship the sea lion stuck around for a long time, and they hugged and cradled each other for at least 30 minutes.
Gilkinson told The Huffington Post, “It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. I appreciated every second because I didn’t know how long it was going to last. He wanted to come rest on me. So we let him.”
Gilkinson did add though that the encounter was “completely on the sea lion’s terms.”