We bring a sea lion whisperer to La Jolla Cove, because why not?


Brigitte Noel sits on a portable chair on the rocks at La Jolla Cove, Sept. 19. She concentrates on a male and female sea lion surrounded by pups.

Lots of voices have chimed in on this hot-button La Jolla issue. One that’s decidedly missing is that of the sea lions themselves. Noel, an animal psychic, agreed to try opening a channel.

What could it hurt?

Noel has an office in her Mission Hills home in which she sees troubled pets and their humans. She’s worked as what she calls an animal “clair-sentient” for 23 years.

“You have to totally respect what’s coming from the animal and not try to change or edit it,” she explains.

Noel says she grew up unaware of her telepathic ability because “I thought people around me were perceiving everything I was, too.”

Brains communicate with the bodies they’re encased in via a series of nerves. These are basically wires, Noel analogizes, and her communication is “like wi-fi.”

“I’m plugging in to a frequency that’s on a network,” she says.

Noel begins The Cove session by quieting her mind and using it to transmit an invitation to communicate.

“You have to zone in on one of them who’s willing to do this,” she explained beforehand. “You don’t assume that they’re just going to want to talk to you.”

One male sea lion sits up and barks almost immediately.

Noel asks for his feelings about this place. If Noel can somehow convince the sea lions to relocate without having to be displaced, she could get a day named after her in La Jolla, parades, the works.

Noel receives the first message and jots it in her notepad. They come not in words, she says, but in pure emotions that require translating.

“We are home,” she writes. “We are very happy and content. This is our home and it is a good home.” Noel says she can’t tell whether the message comes from one particular sea lion or a larger collective.

Why some folks want them to leave ...

The La Jolla coastline is the first on the Southern California mainland where sea lions have hauled out in significant numbers to demonstrate successful birthing and nursing.

That’s the good news. The bad is that a lack of water circulation due to The Cove’s shape, combined with all the sea lion feces, got La Jolla Cove named the fifth most bacteria-ridden beach in the State by the environmental nonprofit Heal the Bay in July.

Two weeks ago, La Jolla Town Council president Ann Kerr Bache declared war on the La Jolla sea lion colony. “There’s basically two choices,” she said. “Move and exclude the California sea lions according to legal, humane prescriptions of the Marine Animals Protections Act, or move and exclude recreational users of our waters.”

But back to the sea lions ...

Noel asks the sea lions if they can’t possibly find somewhere else to live along the coast, since their presence here upsets the humans so much.

We don’t understand” is the message this time. “This is our home. It is a good home.” Oh, and there’s a follow-up: “We can share. We are used to sharing. We share among us. Why can’t we share with you?”

Relocation is non-negotiable to the sea lions, Noel explains, because the concept of claiming territory doesn’t compute to them.

“It’s like the Native Americans we first encountered,” Noel says.

Brigitte Noel Day in La Jolla is looking less and less likely.