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Yvonne and I took a brief break on our visit to the very popular tourist destination of Pier 39. This a part of the famed Fisherman’s Wharf. It is expanded since I was a kid with shops, attractions and eateries.

My curiosity was pricked with an unusual sound. I looked in the direction of the faint audible calls. Yvonne smiled and mimicked what she had heard. That made me laugh. It was a clear bark of a sea-lion.

Now, my camera came up to a ready position. Yvonne could see my interest. Together we hunted down the source of the sound.

A number of steps later gave us a great sight. Right in the middle of man-made harbor were numerous docks chained together. A number of critters were piled on top of the flotilla.

Hundreds of sea lions were lounging on the platforms. They were laid out in the sun and basking in the warm rays of God’s special star assigned to the earth. Small ones and medium ones shared body warmth.

At the center of one of the square docks was a huge sea-lion. It was a large male. This matched what I have read in the past. A dominant male can weigh in excess of 800 pounds.

He alone had room to stretch and move about on the wooden deck. All around the perimeter of his throne were a score of smaller female sea lionesses. They were purposefully placed around the king.

He was the only one sitting up. His head was high in the air and he was barking for all to hear. I’m not up on my sea-lion lingo but it was comical that no other water beasts seemed to give him attention.

To be fair, no one was challenging him either. His harem seemed content to be close by his highness. Their sleek fur glistened in the sun. Their pupppy-like faces with huge brown eyes made me chuckle.

One of these mammals waddled to the edge of the dock and then slipped into the water. What was once an awkward mass of animal on land now gracefully sliced through the water. She was sleek and swam around the sea weed, pier posts just to disappear underwater for whatever adventure that attracts these amazing creatures.

It was a show. It was free. We discovered it all because of the sound of a bark.

photo credit: bruce fong photography