Galapagos sea lions are among the most playful and fun loving creatures on earth.
Left alone at the shore while their mothers go out onto the ocean to hunt for food, they will nap, explore, and frolic with complete joy in the sun.
Their lives are easy while they are under the care of their mother.
She leaves the babies to go get octopus, eels, fish, or other sea food and she returns exhausted.
As she naps on the beach, the babies nurse happily, getting their fill of milk before they join her in slumber as well.
Several hours later, this is repeated.
And so goes their life of luxury.
But when then the babies are too excited and too wide awake to sleep, they find each other and play in the sand or in the waves.
They chase each other and bark happily, although their barking sounds more like tremendous burping than anything else.
They are not just finding entertainment.
Although they don't realize it, they are developing their swimming and hunting skills as well.
They will depend on their agility and speed in the water to catch their own food when they are 2-3 years old.
They will also need these abilities to escape the predators of the ocean.
Young sea lions are a preferred food for many of the large sharks that patrol the waters around the Galapagos Islands.
Unable to take down a large sea lion, in most cases, they would not hesitate to attack a youngster like these.
Their mothers will not allow them to go into the open water because she knows they would not survive long in the shark infested deep.
Even close to shore, they must not venture far out for long.
These two are simply adorable as they hop in and out of the waves along this pier on Santa Cruz Island.
It would be easy to watch them for hours as they engage in the most delightful game of chase!