sea lion below deck: the whole story

OK, I just got the following account from Dan. Its pretty amazing stuff.

Okay, so I was typing my girlfriend a letter when Frank, that guy I told you I thought pissed in the room (hey, my mind goes all over the map when I just wake up), any way, Frank runs into the store room really freaked out and hyperventilating. I asked him what was wrong, and all he could say was That thing! Theres a thing! A fucking animal downstairs!

Apparently, hed gone to the downstairs walk-in to get some pickles. He was serving hamburgers last night. He got to the bottom of the stairwell, turned into the hallway now mind you, he was in a hurry to get production done, and was focused he turned into the hallway and was heading toward the walk-in when he heard this shuffle-shuffle-huff-huff-huff sound. He looked down to see the open mouth with teeth a foot away from his pecker. Needless to say, he freaked and screamed like a girl in a 70s slasher flick, turned around and ran back upstairs muttering until he got to the store room.

Well, the chief steward heard him scream and thought somebody got injured. One of the deck hands, chilling in the net room out on the fish deck, heard him and thought some people were in a fight. A couple other deck hands and a foreman sitting in the mess heard him and thought he had fallen down the stairs. They got up to check it out when he shot past them and into the galley, and into the storeroom where I was.

So, Frank tells me of the animal. I thought he was pulling a prank because there was a story of a seal making it into the hallways of one of the fleets other boats. I told him that I knew he was pulling a prank, but then I looked at him and he was shaking. So, I darted down the stairs to check it out.

Brent, one of the foremen, was standing at the bottom poking his head out into the hallway. I asked him, Is there really a sea lion? Fuck yeah! was all he said. So I asked him to step aside so I could get a look. I poked my head around the corner and okay, so I was expecting a cute little sea lion like you see at the zoo and there was this big sea lion staring right at me. Its eyes were huge, and it was huffing and opening its mouth so I could take a good long look at each and every one of its teeth. No, it wasnt a feed-me-Im-hungry kind of open mouth; it was a take-a-good-look-at-these-teeth-cause-its-the-last-thing-youre-gonna-see-before-you-bleed-to-death-from-the-groin kind of open mouth.

It lunged and I instantly teleported halfway up the stairs. My armpits stung like Id just been pulled over by the police. Brent said, Get a fish! Maybe we can lure him off the boat. I ran upstairs and into the walk-in up there, passing Frank who was rocking on the rice bin with an already more than half-smoked cigarette and muttering loudly about how hes never gonna go downstairs and get pickles again (not much unlike that scene in Apocalypse Now when Cookie steps off the boat into the jungle to get some mangoes when he gets surprised by a tiger). Anyway, I grab a couple choice cod filets about as big as my arm and run back down the stairs with the dangling ends of the filets slapping the bulkhead as I round the corners.

By this time the chief boson and one of the mates are down there trying to figure out what to do. I stop to collect myself for a moment and realize that this is probably one of the most exciting experiences Ive ever had, and then I realize that Im looking at possibly one of the funniest scenes Id ever seen. The chief boson is a giant Norwegian man. I mean hes giant. Not fat, giant. Hes got his radio on and the captain, another Norwegian, comes crackling over the radio with his Norwegian accent, Are you guys fucking with me? The Chief Boson grabs the radio off his collar and says in his Norwegian accent, No! theres a frikkin sea lion right down here in the hallway! Steve, the mate, whos got to be 7 tall says, Maybe we can scare him out. Well, there was a pause, I was still holding the cod, then they start stomping up and down and clapping and screaming GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!!! COME ON!
GO! SHOO! Now imagine one of those voices sounding like the Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show. That was funny, plus telling the sea lion to shoo at the top of your lungs is pretty ridiculous too. But hey, what else can you do?

I hand Brent the cod. Brent underhands it over the sea lions head and it lands behind the sea lion. Well, sea lions probably eat cod. But I think their idea of a good cod probably still has its head and fins and is probably easier to recognize than a long filet splatting to the ground in front of it (it had since turned around and was trying to figure out what the hell to do next). It didnt take the filet. I went upstairs to check on Frank. He was up and walking around, but still shaken. I went downstairs again, and they had managed to get the sea lion over the combing and back onto the fish deck, where it hid behind a pile of ropes. The captain was straddling the combing and holding on to the hatch and looking at it. He was yelling, How the fuck are you going to get that out of there! not even noticing that I was standing there. I say, Get a rope and loop it around it and yank it out like a lasso. He snaps out of his trance and looks at me and says A fucking LASSO? Yup, I should have known that the high seas are NOT the open prairie. I just about died it was so funny. This particular captain is a pretty stern fellow with not much to say unless its regarding the boat, and I got him to say lasso.

Well, they finally figured out that the fire hose would probably work best while keeping the cute furry mouth with teeth a safe distance away. As they were spraying it down the fish deck, it tried to hop into the incinerator room. That would have been a fatal error on the part of the sea lion because there would have been no way to get it out if it had hidden behind something there. As it was, the combing was too high, and the pressure from the hose was too much. When it saw that the stern ramp gate was down, it bee-lined itself back into the sea. Apparently, a sea lion had done the same thing to two other boats in as many days. Now if its the same one Im not sure. I would hope so because if they all started doing that, mayhem would surely follow. There have been stories of orcas chasing them up stern ramps on boats, but never about them just swimming up the ramp and over the gate and just wandering down the halls. Ive had my experience with a seagull walking down the hallway, but thats it. That cant even compete with a sea lion. The good thing is the sea lion didnt shit all over the place like the seagull did.

I cant promise anything (I learned my lesson when I promised to post photos of Paco, the dog with an enlarged nipple and a missing lower jaw), but Dan tells me that some of his shipmates snapped photos of the sea lion. He says that theres a chance that he might be able to get us copies Keep your fingers crossed.

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