Dad Having Fun Kayaking With the Family Gets An Unexpected Admirer Out on the Water


A family out kayaking this past Valentine’s Day got the experience of a lifetime when a not-so-secret stowaway appeared behind Dad: A little sea lion.

The visitor was a delight to both the Gist family and everyone at the nearby wharf. One of those onlookers happened to be KEYT reporter John Buttitta, who promptly started recording the surprise encounter.

Just amazing!! This sea lion jumped on a kayak in Santa Barbara’s Sterns Warf. #ValentinesDay

— Joe Buttitta (@KEYTNC3Joe) February 14, 2015
Wildlife experts advise limiting interaction with sea lions as they can be unpredictable, but this one was in the holiday spirit and just wanted to hitch a ride with this happy family – even leaning in several times to give dad, Rodney, a cuddle.

Rodney later said in an interview of the experience:

“He rode with us all the way in… It was absolutely incredible we had a great time with the family. It was an experience we couldn’t ever duplicate. Incredible.”

A leisurely day out on the water turned into an unforgettable experience. These photos are definitely going in the family photo album.