Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sea Lions Sink 37-Foot Sailboat

Image hosted by Photobucket.comMove over Moby Dick. It's not enough now to simply ram the Pequod with your forehead. California Sea Lions have found a new way to sink a boat.

This past week, 18 Sea Lions climbed onto a 37-foot sailboat in a Newport Beach marina in Southern California. Their combined weight effectively scuttled the sailboat, sending her to the bottom faster than you can say "Capt'n Ahab."

According to the LA Times, boaters are being deafened by the barking of hundreds of swarming Sea Lions, people are being attacked, ocean fisheries are being depleted by their voracious appetites and, most frustrating of all, they have decided that they prefer to sun themselves on peoples boats.

Many inspired attempts have been made to defeat this mammalian invasion from the sea, including fiberglass whales, rubber bullets, plastic chairs tied to the side of boats. Some have even given up and resorted to sleeping pills.

The most effective repellent discovered so far is......the squirt gun, or simply splashing water on the Sea Lion's faces.
"These animals hate to get wet," said marine mammal biologist Monica DeAngelis of the National Marine Fisheries Service. "It's kind of funny."

Several years ago in Monterey, 1,500 sea lions attacked the coast, damaging or sinking over 40 boats and leaving a stench of poop on the deck, so to speak. Not to mention, apparently, a peculiar propensity to vomit.

A 24-7 coast patrol equipped with....yep....squirt guns, finally convinced the sea lions to look elsewhere for fun and entertainment to wile away those leisure hours.

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According to maritime estimates, there are now over 400,000 sea lions along the California coast with an additional 100,000-200,000 more in reserve, hiding off the coast of Baja California.

If Alfred Hitchcock were alive today I have no doubt that he would happily turn this entire matter into a lucrative summer movie blockbuster.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...