It has been said that there are two kinds of people: those who have looked into the eye of a whale, and those who have not. I was reminded of this when I first swam with sea lions at Anacapa Island in California. The intelligence, playfulness, and curiosity these animals displayed awakened in me a primal connection to our world which had long rested beneath the surface of my consciousness. I saw a society which mirrored our own: playful pups blowing bubbles on me and tugging at my fins, cautious mothers calling them away from me, and protective bulls assessing whether I was a threat. I saw in them, too, the desire to reach across the void of species separation, to communicate with the exotic other, the cousin from another planet. Beyond that, it galvanized in me the desire to be a sentinel of the seas, protecting her and all of her creatures from humans who would carelessly do them harm.