Life ‘On the Beach’

By John Owen | Sep 29, 2011

It might have been an offshoot of Obama's Jobs Plan.  Or it might have been a mere coincidence.  

All I can tell you is that I was offered employment without any initiative on my part.

I was enjoying my almost-daily walk along the Edmonds waterfront when a woman who must have been employed by an executive search team seemed to instantly recognize my "street cred" and offered me a professional opportunity.

She wondered out loud whether I had ever considered  a career in seal-sitting.  

She was accompanied by another woman who seemed to have been recruited for a similar job.

A "seal sitter" does not actually sit on seals," they explained.

But suppose a cute little baby seal was separated from its mother.  

The instinct of most beach-walkers like me is to offer them comfort,  a dry blanket and maybe an ice cream cone from the Waterfront Cafe.  

Actually, that's the worst way to insure a baby seal's livelihood.  

What a certified seal-sitter does is to set up a perimeter around the baby, then rush for a beach ranger or one of the civilian experts on call.

It has been at least five years since I last saw an apparently abandoned baby seal on a local beach.  

I did spot a few adult monk seals sleeping on beaches around Kauai.  

But they no more than yawned once and flopped, before there were six orange traffic cones around the creature, courtesy of alert Hawaiian seal sitters.

That much excitement is not guaranteed around Olympic Beach in Edmonds.  

But I have since discovered that there are other local opportunities for full-time excitement.

No beach walk is complete until you have determined whether "Sam" or "Samantha", our two local bald eagles, are sitting on boat masts or on one particular pole  that sticks up out of the water near the ferry dock.

In any five-minute period crows, gulls or other nesting neighbors will execute at least ten sweeping kamakazi dives at the eagles, who barely bat an eye.

But if one of the eagles soars high to threaten the refuge of nesting birds, the sky will fill with squawking, pinwheeling, dive bombing moms and dads.  

Boy, that's more exciting than seal sitting.

Last year a heron and a gull laid eggs  in a niche or wooden ledge in the marina.  

Most of us regulars checked on them daily, until they hatched (or provided lunch for the eagles.)

Your stroll along the waterfront must also be interrupted whenever marina workers are plucking a $100,000 yacht out of the water.

Some day, they are going to drop the sucker and while I don't want to wish for bad luck, I do want to be there if and when it happens.

Then, if the weather is favorable, your waterside walk should be slowed past Anthony's Beach Cafe so that you can take mental notes which will help you decide between the seafood salad and fish tacos, the next time you have scored a table in the sun.

See, I have a lot of responsibilities as a beach-combing Edmonds resident and I don't think I'm going to be able to fit seal-sitting into my schedule.  

For example I have to be at the beach at exactly 11:47 p.m. to see if the high tide arrives on schedule.

It usually does, but WHAT IF IT DOESN'T?  Don't you want to know?

Leave me your phone number and I'll put you on my list.

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