Sea Lion in Punte del Este, Uruguay
About 5 miles off the Uruguayan coast of Punta del Este lies Isla de Lobos, a tiny island that nearly 200,000 sea lions call home. In fact, Isla de Lobos is said to have the largest colony of sea lions in the western hemisphere.
On our visit to Punta del Este, Rosario, our Kensington Tours private guide, dropped us off to enjoy a lunch of fresh seafood at the local marina, and suggested that afterwords we stroll down the marina to see the sea lion.
So, after a fabulous serving of the local brotola, which we think might be red cod, we strolled down the marina to find this big boy lazily lounging near the various fish vendor shacks at the edge of the pier. He seemed quite content to soak in a few rays, and give the two-dozen or so members of his audience an open eye on occasion; and to let us all know that he was keenly aware of his surroundings and in complete control. After all, he looked liked he might clock in around 400 lbs.
As we all watched this lethargic beast meditate in the sun, one of the nearby fish vendors walked up to the edge of the pier and dumped a bucket of fish scraps in the water. And in a flash, all hell broke loose as the sea lion burst into action and scores of seagulls came dashing in hopes of a free meal for themselves. The commotion was quite remarkable, indeed!
Now, much to the chagrin of the seagulls, the fish scraps sunk to the bottom of the marina (about 10 feet deep in this section), and all they could do is watch the sea lion devour the scraps for himself.
Some of the seagulls loudly cried foul, some of them stood on the sea lion’s back when he would slowly float up to the top, and when he broke the surface for air and shook his mammoth head, another frenzy from the seagulls would ensue as they all fought for tiny pieces of fish that broke off from the sea lion’s violent shaking of the fish.
After roughly 15 minutes, the sea lion devoured the bucket of fish, regained his meditation place in the sun, the seagulls left, and the crowd slowly dispersed.
All in all, it was quite an after-lunch show. If you find yourself in Punte del Este, make sure you head to the pier and watch the show. It promises to be an entertaining show, and best of all, it’s free!
Disclosure: our private guided tour of Punte del Este was provided by the kind folks at Kensington Tours. Thanks!
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