Amazing Video: Baby sea lion encounter off California coast - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Amazing Video: Baby sea lion encounter off California coast

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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (CBS 8) - A baby sea lion climbs onboard a boat off the coast of Newport Beach and snuggles with the boat's captain, and it's captured on camera. Now, that video has gone viral, and we're hearing from the people who were on that boat.

A little sweet talking was apparently all it took for the sea lion to hop aboard a boat and feel at home.

"He just kind of look tired, so I figured he'd probably come up on the splash desk and rest and sure enough he did," JR Gilkinson said.

Gilkinson, like most people, had never seen a sea lion stowaway before. So he just stayed calm. Then came the snuggling.

"He sniffed me, after that on my knee, he came up to me and just started rubbing his nose up and down my leg and pretty much spent over an hour just resting there," he said.

It could be an empty belly that experts fear drove this playful pup to desperately seek food.

An increasing number of California sea lions are leaving the ocean possibly because of a lack of prey.

Experts at SeaWorld caution against ever getting this close to the wild animals, although this case is unusual.

"It looked like the sea lion chose to haul out on boat, rest a little while, and go back into the water. And so in general if people see an animal that is in trouble they shouldn't try and intervene themselves," Pamela Yochem said.

As for Gilkinson, he says he made a new friend while on the boat ride of his life.

"This was just truly amazing. I was beside myself the whole time. Every second was surreal where he was sitting there next to me," he said.

After about an hour, Gilkinson says he stood up and told the sea lion it was time to go. That's when he says it belly flopped back into the ocean.

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