September 4, 2011

The Sea Lions of Pier 39

A morning walk around Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Fishermen have been hauling in Dungeness Crab since the Gold Rush, and today, a third generation of fishermen make their living in San Francisco Bay. The Wharf also doubles as a gaudy tourist attraction that is quite removed in style and spirit from the rest of San Francisco.

The famous sea lions of Pier 39, with Alcatraz Island visible in the foggy distance.

The sea lions were first seen in Pier 39 after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The earliest sightings of the sea lions were in January 1990, and in a matter of months, the population swelled from a couple dozen to 300.

The sea lions of Pier 39 are mostly male, which explains the constant clowning around. While around 70% of the lions slept, dead to the world, the other 20% woofed like crazy, and the remaining sea lions would take turns fighting each other off the dock. 

The human crowd cheered every time one fell in, which was about once every other minute. 

One thing to keep in mind: this is quite a smelly area. 

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