Informing and inspiring everyone about California’s underwater world

Sydney's Story

The first wave

I was born in a log cabin. Not! That would have been a palace next to the garage that was really my start. My story really begins before I was even a thought. My mom, Ellie, a beautiful blond bombshell of a pedigreed golden retriever, was living with her human family in Olivenhain. My canine dad, an athletic and determined husky, jumped the fence to Ellie’s backyard. Long story short, nine of us resulted from the illicit affair. Personally, I much prefer the specialness and super-attractiveness that comes from being of mixed heritage.

My human mom and best friend, Judith, already had my big sister, Sasha, a ravishing redhead. While I adore and revere Sasha and have learned everything from her, she’s always been a bit of a pushover. Maybe that’s because she’s the quiet, delicate, sensitive, retiring, artistic type. I have a different vibe. I get my high energy and high strungness (that a word?) from my dad and my sweetness and loyalty from my mom. Anyway, I heard Judith discussing the lot of us pups and her wanting the most “low-key” pup, a sweet girl who wouldn’t steamroll Sasha. Nice try but no cigar.

My inner fish

What can I say? With my bubbly personality and highly charged nature, I was born to center stage. Judith says that because of my love and fascination of the ocean, I’m a chip-off-the-old-block. And like my doppelganger, Judith, I have a predilection for water sports. For instance, I spent my whole gestation period under water. Oh, you too? After I was born, my first pool was my water bowl. Even though it was too small to swim in, at least I could nap next to it. My first real swim took place in Mission Bay. I waited until the canoe was far from shore, took a look over the hull and jumped. It caused quite the, um, hullabaloo but even at 12 weeks old, I knew I was destined to be a distance swimmer. And so I began living the life aquatic. I soon progressed to dog paddling to the quarter-mile buoy off La Jolla Cove, then one day kept going all the way to La Jolla Shores before turning back.

Unleashing my dogma

Judith and I have had lots of swimming experiences—some sketchy—but we’ve always made it back to shore. That’s because we watch each other’s backs and both have different skill sets that come in handy. For instance, Judith may have swim fins (for surf) but I have canine radar (for fog). Enough said. At some point, Judith suggested that since I have so many opinions, I should write my own log. For several years, I wrote “Sydney’s Swim Log” on Judith’s website and contributed a few articles to Judith’s column, “Tide Lines.” Now I’ve hit my stride with my twice monthly column, “Sydney’s Ocean Log,” in the La Jolla Village News (and on this website of course). Write me (click on the Contact page, and put "Sydney the Golden Seal" in the Subject line) with your seaworthy questions. I’m ruff and ready.