Pixel Tracker

Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 10:20 am | Partly Cloudy 56º


Captain’s Log: People Show Admirable Desire to Aid Distressed Critters

One thing I admire about people in general is our desire to help critters. It is truly heartwarming.

Sure, we hunt and fish for food and that is a valuable tradition worth keeping no matter how hard we must fight for our rights to take fresh meat for our tables.

It helps keep us in touch with the realities of the natural order and reminds us how to be a part of the food chain that we are only one catastrophic natural disaster away from being immersed in once again.

Meanwhile, when we see a critter in trouble or just having a tough time of it, our softer tendencies are to aid and assist as best we can. I know firsthand how good it feels to help a critter out of a bind. I’ve helped whales, pinnipends, fish and mammals.

Thinking about those times makes me smile.

There are times when the softer side of people’s nature can be humorous as well as admirable.

One such time was this past week and a half when a pinniped hauled out on Goleta Beach and stayed out of the water for an unusual amount of time. It did get back into the water periodically long enough for the waves to keep it wet. A great many people were very concerned about that critter.

Just at my bait-and-tackle shack out on Goleta Pier, I had dozens and dozens of people come up to report a troubled “seal.” I can only guess how many hundreds of reports were fielded by park staff, restaurant workers and anyone else who seemed to have a job at the park.

Most folks knew better than to approach the critter closely, but many were determined to do something to help.

From my shack, I watched with amusement as a woman drove some stakes into the sand in a semi-circle around the critter and strung up pink caution tape. Having done her good deed, she left.

The critter stayed and watched the woman carefully as she toiled, but after she left the critter moved down the beach about 70 yards. I was really glad it didn’t get tangled up in the caution tape and have to be untangled.

I’m guessing that at the end of the day the park staff had to take down the woman's effort to help. I don’t mean to make fun of her. She was trying to help. Her understanding of the critter and the situation was a little weak, but she honestly tried to help.

The critter was believed to be affected  — temporarily we all hope — by domoic acid which is naturally occurring and cleaned up by nature in its time. I hope the critter will live though this, but nature holds out few guarantees.

It is indeed lucky that these days we have people visiting the beach rather than the visitors of earlier times, which might have included wolves, coyotes and California grizzly bears.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.