Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Sea Lion Chorus of Astoria


This is what Astoria's waterfront sounds like. It is so loud, it seems that every sea lion that has commandeered a rock or pier is talking to its friend.

That is not true. Believe it or not, some of the sea lions are resting their voices so they can join the chorus later. It is like a human choir that has been trained to stagger its breathing so that it can sustain a long note. Except that with the sea lions, the song goes on forever.

At least, I'm pretty sure it does. I woke up in the middle of the night and they were barking. (Don't worry, it lulled me back to sleep.) The next morning they were still calling to each other. It made me smile. I like their exuberance. But I noticed that homes of Astoria, Oregon were positioned up the hill, away from the waterfront. I imagine the locals are over it.

The railing to the left of this pub overlooks the ocean, so I went there to take pictures of the sea lions.

This was as close as I could get. I was making the best of it, wishing I had a longer lens, when I heard some heavy breathing from the water below.

I looked down and my curious friend looked up. "Hey, kid," I said, because that's how I greet other barking animals.

I really should have snapped first and spoken later. And focused.

Astoria is positioned where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific. We took the kids to the Pacific Northwest for Spring Break, fully expecting to spend a lot of the time in museums away from the rain. The weather was a lot better than we thought it would be--which means we spent more time looking at waterfalls and less time indoors (more on the waterfalls later).

We really enjoyed the sea lions--so much that we barely got a look at the town. It's a shame, because it was so charming. But my philosophy is that when traveling, you always leave at least one thing undone. It gives you an excuse to go back.


  1. I like the idea of leaving something undone in order to return to a charming town. Always a challenge photographing animals in a pool. I find feeding time is best ... for the animals, not me !

  2. I would have spent too much time on these cheeky fellows as well!

  3. Well, we don't have sea lions in London...I wish I could come over and admire them with you. I could do with a trip right now, actually!


I love comments! But don't even try to leave one anonymously.

Emails from home

Most of our email is pretty mundane. Once in a while, though, the immediate flavor of country life sings amid the shopping lists and communications to the office. Here are some stored on our home computer, written by people in our house and edited for privacy.

Some of the terms are softened for a family audience, but not by much.

Your evil kitty just woke up your son by urping up a mouse on his lion blankie.

You know you live in a small town when…

...Fifty-year old people born and raised in town are ‘new comers’.

...You are more afraid of locking yourself out of your house than of being robbed.

...The library has a different schedule on every day of the week.

...You are darn proud that your town has a library. Incidentally, your library account is handled not by a card but by a number that the librarian types into her computer. You have trouble remembering it, but the librarian can always tell you what it is.

...You can honestly say, "The Mayor is in front of the house fixing his manure spreader."

Good news: We caught another mouse.

Bad news: We have at least one more.

Good news: He must be hungry and he thinks of traps as a food source, since he robbed the bait of an un-sprung trap, finished the bait of the sprung one, and ate an eye from his dead brother.

Hope you're done with breakfast.