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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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March 7, 2014     The Catalina Islander
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March 7, 2014
 

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Sea Uon Migration With Capt. John King as I continued west I realized I was I saw something last week that I have never seen before. I was head- ing west from Avalon to fish along the lee shore. Our char- ter season is just starting up again so I wanted to get a little time on the water so I could talk fishing with my custom- ers. I scanned the water as I went past Hamilton Cove and I could not discern what my eyes were seeing, a maraud- ing force heading to the John King island in numbers thatColumnist I have never seen be- looking at an army...literally an fore. As the movie line suggested, "They're back", but this time in ever greater numbers. A couple of sea lions were just outside the harbor, a few more were rolling around the Coast Guard can in front of the Casino. On the horizon was a disturbed stretch of water running as far as I could see. At first I thought it might be a huge school of dolphin, however, army of sea lions. The front line of this contin- gent started very close to shore and spread out into deeper water up to a half-mile off shore. The members of this invasion were spread out across this line ev- ery four to eight feet, and all were moving steadily east along the island. The second line started 10 yards back of the first and in the same formation. I could not easily count the number of lines, but the army continued marching by for a solid 20 minutes. I came to realize I was watch- ing a massive migration of sea lions, mostly females, heading to the east end. This is an odd thing to see in early March. A migration of sorts takes place every year as the ani- mals collect on beaches and begin the mating season. But this was odd in a number of ways. Usually, the males do the migrating, in far smaller numbers and it is usually later in the year. Sea lions have reputations as being eating machines. We have all heard the stories of sea lions feasting on winter run salmon, and there is not a fisherman on the west coast that hasn't lost a prize catch to a waiting sea lion. Estimates for their daily intake range from 15 to 40 pounds of fish per day, depend- ing upon the size of the sea lion. A massive influx of mating sea li- ons will not be the best thing that could happen to the fishing around Catalina Island. Sea Lions are very crafty crit- ters. They learn how to get an easy meal, and word seems to travel fast among the colony. There is no doubt in my mind that they have posted a picture of Mojo with a sign in 'sea lion' suggesting "easy pickin's." Another of their tricks is to simply hang out un- der the boat and wait. We release a lot of fish to be caught another day, however, the sea lion tends to make our release strategy a dining opportunity. Although sea lions were once hunted for their pelts, our local sea lions live a pretty good life. They have very few predators, and enjoy a rich diet. Estimates suggest the local population is well over 250,000 animals and has grown at a rate of 10% per year since the last major El Nino in 1993. The good news is that the tour business should be booming this year. We run a Capt. John's Sea- Fari on Catallac at noon Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday each week from March thru October, and our customers love seeing the sea lions. As a hard core fisherman, I have to admit I feel a bit guilty about pointing them out on our tours, but hey, times they are a changing! Capt. John runs Afishinados Charters and can be reached at 888-613-7770 or at john@afishi- nados.com Garden Party From page 2 The benefits of a school garden are wide. Research has determined a school garden can raise test scores, encourage environmen- tal stewardship, provide physical activity, combat un-healthy eating habits and provide equal-opportu- nity educational advantages. It will be used by all grades (K- 12), as well as special day classes, after school programs and the two local preschools. Over the last few months team members have started writing cur- riculum, they attended a school garden workshop, collaborated with school staff, cleaned out the garden space, and have created a garden design that utilizes an enclosed space for critter control. Now is the time for fundrais- ing. Initial start up costs are about $10,000. This will pay for con- struction materials, irrigation, curriculum, gardening supplies and future repairs to the site. The ultimate goal is to raise $20,000, which will help sustain the program for many years to come. Other purchases will include bricks, lumber, fencing, tools, benches, sheds, composting bins, seeds and pots. Eventually the group hopes to hire a school garden coordinator to organize the site and implement the community-wide program and its activities. Catalina island kids need the community's sUpport. All: dona- tions are tax deductible and would be greatly appreciated. Tickets for the Avalon School Garden Party Fundraiser are available through eventbrite.com. ....... i-7 Avalon School's garden is seen above. Photo courtesy of Judy Hibbs (Search Avalon Schools Garden Party). People can purchase tickets and/or make direct donations online. Tickets will be sale in the Post Office Arcade on March 8 and March 15 from 11-1. For more information call Michelle Bray 310-510-8920. will be held on Monday, 3/10/14 at BOOK PRIVATE CHAR--ER Waverly Chapel Fairhaven Memorial Park 1702 Fairhaven Avenue Santa Ana, CA 92705 Transportation is provided For those who wish to attend. Sign up at the Glenmore Hotel TUESDAY, SATURDAY ,SUNDAY 12-2,,I -Cruises & Tours C S Before you go back to the mainland... for eyelashes 310-510-0017 For more information call :all 714-546-2020 Gina (310) 746-6896 For a Saturday clinic appoint at CIMC, 9:00am Recepuon - l:00pm to follow - Viewing .... ~ Av?lon, it RANeG 2:30pm to 3:30pm - Service IIL Immediately foUowing: Entombment (on site). dll ..... Subscr.ibe today. ] i ,o ox,2. ,o70, O E COAST Phone:(310) 510-0500 Fax (310) 510-2882 g~ CeHte~ 4 i Friday, March 7, 203.4 THE CATALINA ISLANDER