Tag Archives: sea lions

Find the Good and Praise It

Posted October 1, 2021 by Kerry McFall

Painting of La Jolla Cove

Sea Lions at La Jolla Cove

 One of my new passions is watching the sea lions here in La Jolla.  According to the locals and some docents at La Jolla Cove, this particular bunch took up residence here sometime in about 2016.  The females come here to give birth, and then they spend several months teaching the pups to swim, fish, and generally be denizens of the deep.   A few males show up now and then to bark and complain and get on everyone’s nerves, occasionally staging sumo wrestling matches on the rocks with younger males.  Those guys are humongous, up to 800 pounds.

I can spend so long standing there watching that my feet go to sleep.  Sea lions make terrific “life drawing” artist’s models, posing in the sun like furry mermaids, the young ones turning somersaults and playing tag in the surf.  But we all know that no passion is without a dark side, and this is no exception – I hereby nominate the idiots (mostly tourists) who harass the sea lions for The Darwin Award.  And the Queen’s Dog Whisperer agrees, as quoted from  https://www.mcall.com/sd-cm-ljl-dog-whisperer-20180910-htmlstory.html:

“That’s stupid, that,” Mugford said, motioning toward a group of young people about five feet from a group of sea lions and inching closer with their cell phones out. “It endangers the mother-pup bond and it endangers those people.

“Sea lions are wildlife, just like grizzly bears or bison,” he continued. “Obviously, having those signs warning people not to get close does no good if people ignore them. What we need is a few well-documented cases of sea lions biting people and then perhaps people would keep their distance more.” 

To sum up, people who pester wildlife don’t have the sense that God gave a Goose.  For most of the summer, there were yellow tapes blocking the steps carved or worn into the rocks where the pups and their mothers were resting.  Most people stayed back, but every time I was on that Cove walkway, there were the selfie seekers, down there with the sea lions.  The tapes came down in mid-September, I guess because the local ordinance was only effective during “active pupping season”.  But damnation (as my sainted father would have said), those pups are now  teenagers in sea lion development terms.  Being the Momma of a teen makes ANY woman cranky!  If you mess with the rookery residents, you make ALL those Mommas mad… and 300 pounds of angry Momma coming at you on slippery wet rocks is a recipe for disaster.

Alex Haley said, “Find the good and praise it,” quoting his grandmother I believe.    I’ve always thought that was a good philosophy to guide our lives – otherwise we wind up like those noisy male sea lions, complaining and getting on everyone’s nerves.  And so I offer my drawing of a little boy, sitting on the wall to watch the sea lions in quiet fascination, wearing his bicycle helmet, his scooter pulled up politely alongside.  Occasionally he and his big sister, who stood beside him, giggled at the antics going on down by the surf line.  Their Momma and Daddy did a good job of helping them be caring humans in a changing climate – good job.  Maybe their examples will rub off on rowdy, thoughtless tourists.

Boy Watching Sea Lion

Find the Good and Praise It: Good Boy!

#LaJollaCove #SeaLions #SelfieSeekers #FindTheGoodAndPraiseIt  #ResponsibleCitizens

Lions of Another Sort

"Sea Lions", mixed media by Kerry McFall

With thanks to the Oregon Coast Aquarium photograph archives, here is a sketch of the sea lions that appeared as tiny dots in the ocean in my previous post.  Sea Lions are strange and fascinating creatures, perhaps the ultimate “walking fish”!

A Rare Day at the Oregon Coast

"Cape Arago", mixed media by Kerry McFall

Thanks to a tip from a co-worker who lives at the coast (Thanks, Ken!), our trip to Coos Bay turned out to be a sight-seeing Bonanza.  He suggested we drive past the Shore Acres State Park a ways and look for sea lions on the rocks.  It sounded like a good way to spend a few minutes, and Griff loves to try out new roads.  It was gorgeous, and we stayed for several hours, believe it or not, actually BASKING in the SUN!  Yes, Oregon in January – and the wind wasn’t blowing, and the sun was shining.  Hundreds of sea lions bobbed up and down in the surf , and as I sketched I was buzzed by a hummingbird several times!  At one point I saw a white plume that may or may not have been a whale blowing – people with binoculars thought it was, I wasn’t sure that my imagination hadn’t embellished it a bit.

After that sunny interlude, we drove back down to the botanical gardens at Shore Acres, where I was able to sketch the old gardener’s house, built in about 1914 by the very wealthy Simpson family.  They graciously donated their entire water’s edge mansion and grounds to the state in the 1930’s.  There wasn’t much in bloom this season, but lots of hopeful daffodil points were beginning to poke up, and a few industrious bees buzzed around the sun-warmed heather near the entrance.

"Shore Acres Botanical Gardens", mixed media by Kerry McFall

The weekend was over too soon.  Sunday the January weather returned and we drove home in the rain, stopping for lunch at the Gingerbread restaurant in Mapleton.  I remember stopping there with my Dad as a teen when he took me fishing with him on the Siuslaw River.  I sketched, he caught salmon – or not, but we both enjoyed just sitting on the river, watching the world slip past.  I was pleased to see that the same souvenir plates line the shelves above the windows, and the 1960’s decor is pretty much intact… what I didn’t expect were the cowboys at the next booth.  Cruel spurs, ten gallon hats, long knives on their belts, they were the Real Deal.  I wish our friends from Botswana could have been with us to see this little bit of Americana!

"Gingerbread Cowboy", pencil sketch by Kerry McFall

It’s not my best effort at perspective, etc., but frankly, I was afraid they might not take kindly to being sketched, so it was a rush job!