Sunday, April 05, 2009

When A Day At The Beach...
...isn't "A Day At The Beach..."
The weather down here has been absolutely GORGEOUS, at least it was this past weekend, and That Means I Must Go To The Beach. I have a favorite sitting spot, a rock atop the South Jetty at Bastendorff Beach, south of Coos Bay. I've spent hours sitting on that rock, watching the ocean to my left, and watching the turbulence of the collision of outbound Estuary water with incoming Ocean Water. I got some great photos today; perhaps I'll post them later on.
While I was sitting up there, a group of young kids, obviously buzzed on beer (or other favorite substances), climbed on top of the jetty, shouting, gesturing and shouting and having a regular ol' good time. They were celebrating the birthday of one of the guys, who Is Now The Ripe Old Age Of 19. I remember being 19, back in the Stone Age! Anyway, they were college kids, out for a weekend's frolicking, and, well, the beach is a great place to frolic. And frolick they did as I watched them manuever, some of them BAREFOOT, on the jetty rocks, teetering above the, I don't think my sense of balance was ever that good. To make a long story short (or the other way around), about 45 minutes after that, I climbed off the jetty; them rocks ain't exactly the cushiest things to sit on. Walking back down the beach towards my car, I noticed a group of Human Beings up ahead of me, and when I got there, they were trying to figure out a way to help this little guy...
There he was, all confused, a sea lion 'pup', following a tire track in sand, poor little guy. The tide had been out for quite a while, and it evidently swam in too close, or maybe was overwhelmed by the waves, or maybe just lost his bearings. Whatever the case, he was close to 50 feet away from the water, disoriented and confused. Now, if you're familiar with Oregon Law, one can face severe charges for disturbing anything pertaining to the beach (well, not sand or seashells, but you get the idea). In short, 'Stay Away from Sea Lions And Other Creatures or you're gonna be in a Heap O'Trouble', saith Oregon Laws.
Included in the people gathered around the Sea Lion (obviously a 'pup') were the party-hearty college kids I saw before. One of them was teetering, falling-all-over-himself DRUNK. Been there, done that. As the group was gathered around the little Sea Lion, the Really Drunk guy grabbed hold of the pup's back legs, and DRAGGED it into the ocean, and the sea lion swam away. Beforehand, evidently, someone in the group called authorities, and was told, "we'll come out soon and attend to the Sea Lion, don't you worry."
We had all waited, standing around the pup, trying to give it some shade, while deciding what to do, and the Drunken Kid would not be stopped. Perhaps, in his condition, he mustered up the bravado that the rest of us didn't have. So, what's your call? Wait for the authorities while the sea lion bakes in the sun? Or drag it into the ocean where it belongs, violating all kinds of laws? Maybe the little 'pup' ended up being beached because it was too weak to battle the waves, so maybe all of this is Much Ado About Nothing. Maybe what the Kid did violates The Law, but what good is the law if it means an animal must die on the beach? And finally, would the pup have died on the beach if we'd waited for the authorities who were obviously taking their sweet time responding to this situation?
I've gotta say that I think The Right Thing was done here. Human compassion for a disadvantaged little creature. Maybe the Sea Lion will live to a ripe old age, or it may end up washed ashore somewhere else. The point is, this obviously inebriated Kid really cared, and did something. As the 'pup' swam away, the Kid and his friends ran down the beach, arms raised to the sky, whooping and hollering. The kid fell on his face a couple of times, but he has a right to be proud. The whole thing underlying all of this is that the Kid, after tomorrow's hangover (and he'll have a BIG hangover) might not remember What He Did Today.
The last few days, I've been trying to come up with something constructive to put here; I must admit my mind hasn't been the Most Fertile Ground for Original Thought lately. So it's kinda nice when life hands me a situation like this. Instant Blog Material! Oh, and by the way, I don't know names of the people involved, and I took No Pictures of the Seal-dragging incident, so if you're an Oregon Wildlife Law Enforcement Person, it won't do any good trying to contact me...


Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

This is just wonderful..... I would of dragged the little seal out to sea to..... sod what the authorities say..... saving a life is saving a life....

Fanks for such a lovely story..


1:25 AM  
Blogger some guy who blogs said...

Hi, Marmymel...Sea lions being mammals, they can and do spend quite a bit of time out of the water. There are coastal rocks upon which they lounge, barking, mating, etc...but this poor little pup was obviously confused 'cos that tire track he was following led Inland. That told me he was disoriented. I was really happy that the situation resolved itself this way. I never knew Sea Lions had such cute little faces until I saw this one close-up...

6:24 PM  

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