Sunday, April 15, 2012


To quote a juvenile but memorable band from my younger years:
"The beach is nothing but a bird bathroom"
-the Surf Punks

For about two weeks now, we've noticed an unusual increase in fish activity in the north end of Newport Harbor, which has resulted in an increase in bird activity.
We've also seen some sea lions (which we almost never see in this part of the harbor) but I'm not upset about the sea lions...because when they poop, it doesn't fall from the sky!

I'm no marine biologist, but as I understand it:
there are schools of anchovies (or something else small),
this attracts schools of somewhat larger fish.
Birds of all kinds come in for the easy pickings - some eat small fish,
some eat the not-so-small fish.
Sea Lions also come in, but again, until they learn to poop from the sky, I'm not worried about them.

By now you may have sensed a theme here:
poop...falling from the sky.

Sure, I've come in contact with this peril before:
irritated the wrong seagull in Seattle back in '98 and got mercilessly crapped on right before dinner with a bunch of relatives.
I don't like seagulls anymore, but I don't piss them off either.
When Eve took a bite of the apple, and sin entered the world,
I'm convinced that a lot of it ended up in seagulls.
They're veangeful, vindictive, and they do aim.

So as our birds and fish ecosystem here has gone into overdrive,
we've seen some amazing activity above and below the surface.
There have been many nights where so many fish are splashing at the surface that it sounds like stand-up-paddlers are coming my way.
We've seen the masterful hunting skills of an osprey first hand,
and those dramatic splashdowns of pelicans are so regular that you see them every few minutes.  We've also had to wash down our boats a little bit more than usual too.
Today I arrived to a boat that really needed to be washed.
One of the other gondoliers had washed her the day before, but, well, things happen.
"It" happens.
And speaking of "it" happening, today, well, today I almost had a replay of what happened in Seattle.

I was coming in from a cruise, I'd just spent an hour relaxing my couple like a massage therapist working on two overstressed patients,
and just as I was backing the gondola into her spot,
a pelican glided low over us and "opened up the bomb doors".

As luck would have it, the flying fishgulper, managed to strafe the boat right between me and my passengers.
A little bit ended up on their shirts (just a few drops),
and a lot ended up on the boat.

The enemy aircraft somehow missed my coffee cup (because it was empty - I'm sure Murpy's Law was in play), but nailed my pitch pipe. 
I'll be singing without it until I figure out how to sanitize it.

Really, in the grand scheme, we all dodged a bullet today.
It could have been much worse.
I joked about how it was supposed to be good luck,
my passengers, who had experienced a perfect cruise up until that point, kept their positive attitude, and walked away with some humor to add to their story.
And after they were gone,
I washed my boat...again.

Related reading:
"To Cover or Not to Cover – the Follow-up" - don't miss great comments from Gondola Blog readers, along with my "poop rant" towards the end of the post.

"Evidence of Birds" - "poop - that caustic flying insult that burns through paint and contrasts so nicely on black paint".

"Bird in Flight" - sure, they look nice, and Martina snagged a great shot, but in the heart of every seagull there's a dark chamber.

1 comment:

gondolaguy said...

I can so relate to this! After 55 years on Earth, I got splattered last week, by a seagull with eagle eyes and great aim! Also, had two passengers nailed from above, by another flying rat!! :)