Monterey Bay, Monterey, California 


As streams of dawn light glimpsed through the broken cloud cover, I rolled up next to Fisherman’s Wharf on my bike. Thompson was sitting on the stone wall in his camouflage jacket with his backpack next to him. We exchanged our usual good mornings.

“What’s all this?” I said.

“Yeah, the sea-lions moved in a few days ago. They made the news. They usually hang out where it’s quieter, away from the tourists.” I had to ask him to repeat himself a few times because the sea-lions were making so much noise. “I talked to an oceanographer friend of mine from the aquarium,” he said. “She told me they were migrating south and would move on as soon as the salmon left the bay. Salmon’s their favorite food.”

Several dozen lay around on the rocky shore, swimming, barking, and playing with each other. I pulled out my camera and snapped a few shots with the boats silhouetted against the horizon. 

“It’s getting a little stinky, though,” Thompson said. “But I’ll tell ya. I’m going to miss the noise when they leave. They keep me from thinking. It’s strange. I would never have thought of it as therapeutic. But they’re louder than the voices in my head.”