Of all the waves, on all the beaches, in all the California seaside towns, one young sea lion pup is lucky she washed up on Calder Nold’s watch.
According to WDTN, the Santa Cruz based surf instructor noticed the exhausted marine mammal struggling in rough waters two weeks ago. It was getting thrown up against the rocks and unable to reach land on its own.
Nold was with a student at the time, surveying the waves. He observed the animal for a while before deciding it needed to be rescued. “It was really high tide, probably an 8-foot swell, and no beach,” he told KSBW8.
At first the pup resisted and bit Nold. But soon, “it latched its flippers onto my leg, it was its last bit of energy,” said the surfer-turned-sea-lion-hero. Nold then ferried the animal on the nose of his longboard back to shore. He even cuddled the pup while they waited for a volunteer from a rehabilitation organization to arrive, comforting and keeping it warm. Nold nicknamed his new pal “Little C.” (His own nickname is “Big C,” of course.)
Marine Mammal Center rep Laura Sherr told KSBW8 the sea lion was malnourished and in need of rescue. However, humans should be wary of taking matters into their own hands as it’s tough to tell if a baby animal has been abandoned or if its mother is just out gathering food.
“We’re really glad this animal has been rescued and given a second chance at life … People have good intentions and the animal may be suffering. The instinct to help is really, really difficult not to follow. That’s natural and wonderful, but if you want to help, channel that by calling us,” Sherr said. (That number is 415-289-7325, or call 911 so dispatchers can alert the center to send help.)
“Little C” is currently thriving thanks to Nold’s efforts, and the Marine Mammal Center expects it to make a full recovery.