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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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February 8, 2013     The Catalina Islander
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February 8, 2013
 

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9~ Sea lions' pining heard throughout Avalon accompany feeding frenzy on squid and other "bait fish" in the area BY DENNIS KAISER AND THERESA CUMMINGS The pining sounds waft across Avalon Harbor in the cool of the February morning light. "Aft, arf, arf, arf." For the past couple of weeks it's been a familiar refrain. "I guess the seals are awake," says Vern Altieri, a local resident and musician as he heads Off in a golf cart to his day job in Avalon. The barks of visiting sea lions in Avalon Harbor have recent- ly- reverberated through the city, reaching as far as Avalon Canyon. Little pods of California sea lions gather in the water of the harbor and stretch out about a mile into the Pacific Ocean. For those who live aboard their boats, it can be a disturbing sound if you are trying to sleep into the mid- morning. It almost seems as if the sea lions have come to enjoy Avalon in the off season or to mate off the shore of the "Island of Romance." However, according to Avalon Harbor Patrol, the reason for their extended visit is as simple as the basic need to feed. Lately they have been filling up on squid and other bait fish that led them to Avalon. For the last few weeks, Avalon Harbor has been filled with an unusu- ally high number of sea lions. Although large groups of sea lions are commonly found on the East End of the Island in an area called Seal Rocks Beach, the Avalon Harbor Patrol has reported that this is the first time in known history that such a large number of sea lions are actu- ally within Avalon abundant food supply. This area Harbor itself, also has steep cliffs and sea lions "Seal Rocks Beach on the east are concerned about predators end of the Island is considered a such as bears and lions. Although rookery (colony of breeding ani- we don't have them on the Island, mals) for sea lions" said Mike~ it is intuitively seen ~ a safety Armstrong, a local boat captain, mechanism. This area also has "Because of ~onverging sea cur- a thick kelp forest, which keeps rents in the area, it creates an sharks and killer whales away California sea lions frolic under the ocean waves and on the nearby shore in there pho- tos. The sea lions hae recently visited Avalon- Harbor to dine of an abundance of'bait fish. Courtesy photos from the location." Armstrong has been a boat captain for 35 years and moved to Catalina with his family from Newport nine years ago to work for the Santa Catalina Island Company. He attributed his knowledge to the many locals who have had multigenerational experiences with marine life. Armstrong said there were more sea lions in the area than usual because there are fewer predators and a more abun- dant food supply. According to San Diego's SeaWorld, California sea lions are among the most vocal of all mammals. Their vocalization It almost seems as if the sea lions have come to enjoy Avalon in the off season or to mate off the shore of the "Island of Romance." However, according to Avalon Harbor Patrol, the reason for their extended visit is as simple as the basic need to feed. includes barks, growls and grunts. During the breeding season, male California sea lions bark inces- santly when establishing territo- ries. Once established, the males bark only when maintaining and defending their territories. The abundance of food, known as 'bait," has recently been report- ed on news networks. This sea- son has seen an exceptional abun- dance of squid in the channel. According to the California Wet Fish organization, fisherman in San Diego and Orange County are catching large Humboldt squid by the hundreds. One fisherman said that he caught enough squid for the entire year. Others reported record numbers of giant squid being caught. Tourists visiting Catalina Island have been delighted to see and hear all the activity of the sea lions not only in the harbor, but also on tours taking them out .to Seal Rock Beach. The sea lions born in the fall are now seen as playful and entertaining, and the sea lions swim close by tour boats, as if they understand that visitors are happy to see them However, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center website advises Sea Lions, Page 9 Is,oocR Founded in 1913 by Ernest Wiedle Publisher Vince Bodiford" vince@thecatalinaislander.com Editor Dennis Kaiser editor@thecatalinaislander.com Advertising Pat Jamieson advertising@thecatalinaislander.com Accounting Judy Murray judy@localnewspapers.org Graphic Designer Christy Smith -,IL 101 MARILLA #6 AVALON, CA 90704 I (310) 510"0500 FAX: (310) 510-2882 Postmaster: Send address changes to The Catalina Islander P.O. Box 428, Avalon, CA 90704 DEADLINES Calendar: Noon Monday I News: 5 p.m. Monday I Drsplay Adver- tising: 2 p.m. Tuesday I Classified Advertising: Noon Tuesday I Legal/Public Notices: 5 p.m. Monday SUBSCRIPTIONS Send to manager@cinews.us ' One Year Subscription: Catalina $39 Mainland ~ $48 Subscriptions via First Class Mail are available for $SO/year A Publication of CommunltyMedla Corporation, CATALINA COUPLES: DAVE AND KATHY THOMPSON . Please send us your favorite photo of yourself or one of another local Catalina couple to be included in the Catalina IsJander. They can be young or old. In special places, special occasions or just at home." Email your high resolution photo to editor@thecatalinaislander.com. CATALINA ISLANDER (USPS 093-140) Acceptance under 39C, F.R. 3464 periodicals postage paid at Avalon, CA 90704 and other additional offices. Adjudication Decree No. 377598. Date of Adjudication: Oct. 4, 1934 Exact Name of Newspaper as shown in the Petition for Adjudication: The Catalina Islander. Published weekly at 101 Marilla Avenue, #6 Avalon, CA 90704. The entire contents of The Catalina Islander are copyrighted by The Catalina Islander. No part may be repro- duced in any fashion without written consent of the publisher. This publication is printed almost entirely on recycled paper. Contents Copyright 2013 and Title Registered, Catalina Islander, inc All Rights Reserved. PROUD MEMBER OF THE CALIFORNIA NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION Subscribe today. P.O. Box 428 Avalon, CA 90704 Phone: (310) 510-0500 Fax (310) 510-2882 2 Friday, February 8, 2013 THE CATALINA ISLANDER