Friday, May 20, 2016

Sea Lion Stories

I went to a pier in San Francisco not that long ago and saw some of my favorite friendly mammals: The sea lion. Seals and sea lions are amazing! They are beautiful, blubbery beasts! I didn't get as many close up pictures as I would like, but it was fun watching these spectacular creatures from afar as they bask is the glory of the slowly setting sun. Along with sea lions, I also saw hokey nick-knack stores and attractions built to induce nostalgia. There is always something a bit surreal about tourist wharves and piers, but I like them!

It is a difficult to tell, but those shadowy lumps are actually sea lions! I was enthralled as I watched them. They love to talk to each other. They love to dive into the water, change their mind, and leap back onto the sun drenched wooden planks of the docks.

Carousels are so pretty and sad...twirling around and around...always going in circles and going no where at all. But they are so pretty. I love looking at the different animals and admiring all the little touches included in the creations of the creatures.

This is from a shop window devoted to celebrating people who are left handed. I wonder if the owners of the store conducted a study and discovered that left handed people had a particular fondness for pier life.

Here is a picture of a stoned ice cream cone trying to get you to cream cones, his very own brethren! That stoned pink ice cream cone sure is a Benedict Arnold! Look at him, full of nonchalant glee as he lazily urges people passing by to go and eat members of his very own tribe...the tribe of frozen sweetness all ice cream cones belong to.

The sea lions at this pier didn't start making the shaky wooden docks their home until after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. I was a little kid during this earthquake, but I remember it well. Local Bay Area based Californians old enough to possess even slight memories remember well where they were during this earthquake. I remember I had just finished cleaning my room that very day, which was something I never did because I despised cleaning and cleanliness. But alas, sometimes as a kid you have to give in and clean. With the new found space on the floor of my room, I was having some sort of conference with several of my most trusted stuffed animals. Next thing I know, everything is shaking and I quickly escape my room! After the shaking subsides and I return to my room, the place is an absolute disaster! I learned my lesson. Never clean your room!

I don't know what the earthquake felt like under the sea. Water creatures have a different relationship with gravity and order. Maybe it just felt extra sloshy that day. But it does seem strange that after the earthquake, the sea lions changed their behavior and suddenly thought this pier was the most awesome place to hangout ever! The locals who docked their boats at the pier were not too keen to share the space with these blubbery mammals. But the naturalists fought for the rights of the sea lions, and the sea lions persevered. They had staked claim on the space, and the space was theirs. The local marina tenants may have been bothered, but everyone else seems delighted to have the chance to observe these magnificent animals as they live their lives. 

What I like best about sea lions is their bark. Their barks are sad and jolly at the same time. They are telling stories to each other and stories to us. Maybe they are telling us the secret story of why the earthquake convinced them to seek refuge at the pier. Maybe they are gossiping about what Martin the Sea Lion said to Abigail the Sea Lion. Maybe they are saying "fish, fish, fish!" No matter how complicated or simplistic their sea lion bark story is, I like listening to these chubby fellows telling it like it is.

"Sea Lions at PIER 39 - The Sea Lion Story from PIER 39, San Francisco."PIER 39 San Francisco. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2016. <>

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