Sea Lions at PIER 39

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March 9, 2017
Sea Lions at PIER 39

How I See San Francisco: The PIER 39 Sea Lions

When you think of San Francisco icons, the sea lions are up there with the Golden Gate Bridge. They are one of the reasons why PIER 39 is the top attraction in San Francisco. On a typical day, you can find them lounging in the sun or piled on top of each other on K-Dock in PIER 39’s West Marina. Some people say they're smelly, but they all smell that way here (fun fact: they are all male). Here's how one of San Francisco's cutest residents sees San Francisco.

What made you come to The PIER?
Food, of course! In the early 1990s, my pod (a group of sea lions) and I followed our food to PIER 39. Upon arrival, we discovered that there was not only a plentiful supply of herring but that the PIER 39 Marina also offered us protection from the predators we would face in open waters. It’s been home ever since!

Describe your perfect day in San Francisco.
Sleep, salmon, sun…repeat!

Where and what would you choose for your last meal in San Francisco?
Although I’m on a strict fish-only diet, I wouldn’t mind one of those mini-donuts…

What's your favorite beach in San Francisco?
When Seal Rock gets too packed, I like to head over to Ocean Beach and catch a few waves with the surfers.

When you have out-of-town guests, where do you take them?
We usually cruise around the Bay to see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, and then back to PIER 39 to watch the tourists. K-Dock is a great spot for people watching! 

If you could make it into the middle of the city, where would you go?
I’ve always wanted to ride the cable car, although I think I’d have a hard time hanging on over the steep hills.

As a fan of seafood, what have you heard about dining in the city?
It’s about as fresh and local as you can get! Each day, when I’m out and about in the ocean, I see local fisherman snatch up all kinds of fish and crabby critters for the restaurants at The PIER. Sure looks tasty to me!

What best captures the essence of San Francisco?
The kindness and acceptance of the people who live here. In San Francisco, people take care of their neighbors. When we first arrived, the folks in the PIER 39 Marina built a permanent dock for us to call home. San Franciscans came from all over the city to welcome us. Three decades later, we are proud to call the waters around this magnificent city our home, and its residents our neighbors and friends.

What should visitors to K-Dock know about your family and friends?
We are sea lions – not seals! Sea lions have external ear flaps and seals do not.

Where’s the best place for visitors to see a great bridge view?
There are great views from the Bay end of PIER 39, but nothing beats a photo from directly under the bridge. Those without a built-in wetsuit can see the bridge from this angle aboard a Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise.

Where’s the best place for someone to find you when not at The PIER?
Most days you can find me at K-Dock, but I do take a trip down to the Channel Islands each June for mating season. Also, if I’m not feeling well, I’ll be over in Sausalito with my friends from The Marine Mammal Center.

Any comments on Lou Seal?
As a fellow marine mammal and Giants’ fan, it gives me great pride to see Lou out on the field. And boy, can Lou dance!

You spend a lot of time on the edge of The PIER. What catches your eye the most?
The beauty of the city never ceases to amaze me. From K-Dock, I can see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the world-famous city skyline with iconic landmarks like Coit Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid. Millions of people come from around the world to take pictures of these views – and they’re in my own backyard!

There are a lot of boats out there around you. What’s up with them?
We stay clear of them, and they stay clear of us!


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