Sunday, September 9, 2018

Interview With the Stranded Steller Sea Lion in Sitka

O.H.M.: So, thanks so much for taking the time to meet with me. I know you've been busy getting re-acclimated to your marine habitat. It sure is cold out in this skiff. Can you scooch up a little closer? That's great. Thanks.

Stranded Steller Sea Lion (SSSL): *Puts nose on bow of skiff*: No problem, I'm just grabbing a few crustaceans off the seabed here before I get back to the rookery. I'll try not to get lost on my way there! *coyly covers face with flipper.*

O.H.M.: OMG have you tried their raspberry kombucha? Travis, the owner, swears by it. I just had some last week and was all like I'm not sure about this stuff, it tastes like it's alive and it's kinda funky but may--

SSSL: No, no no. Not the Rookery coffee shop in Juneau. I mean, my LITERAL rookery near Sitka where I breed and bark loudly at other males to defend my territory! 

O.H.M.: Ohhhhhh! DUUUUH. I'm so dumb. Haha, that was awkward. Alright, let's get to the real reason for this interview: What the hell happened out there last week? How did you end up on a four-day impromptu land tour of Sitka?

SSSL: It's pretty embarrassing, actually. I'd just downloaded Swayze™ onto my flipper, and it must've had a glitch, or maybe I plugged in the wrong coordinates because I thought I was headed to a buoy to molt, and all of a sudden, BAM! I'm in front of a goddamned hospital on Japonski Island! (excuse my French).

O.H.M.: No problem. I'm used to it. What made you decide to stick around shore for four whole days?

SSSL: It wasn't exactly my choice. I mean, I didn't know where the hell I was. One minute I'm dodging kelp with my offspring like it's any given foraging excursion, and next thing I know I'm getting sprayed down by a fire hose wielded by the Sitka Fire Department. So I was like, fuck it. I can't see the ocean, might as well lumber into the woods and see if I can't find myself a snack.

O.H.M.: Were you scared?

SSSL: Well, look. I'm an 8 year-old male, and although I'm just reaching polygynous sexual maturity, I already weigh between 1,500 and 1,700 pounds. This isn't my first rodeo. But by all rights I should've died out there, cuz evolution. On the other hand, I probably wouldn't have gotten lost at all if it hadn't have been for your old Barbie Doll heads and plastic Coors Light six-pack rings shitting up my habitat. You're damn right I was scared!

O.H.M.: I realize it was kind of an ordeal, but what was a highlight of your unplanned detour to terra firma?

SSSL: Probably all the scientists and locals who kept oohing and ahhing and snapping pics. I forgot to get their contact info--I was too busy trying to figure out WTF was even happening. But I'm hoping some of them tag me on Insta. Maximum views on social is really gonna up my cred for mating season. I'm ready to own like, 5 bitches right now.

O.H.M.: Totes. Do you remember being tranquilized?

SSSL: To be honest with you, I don't remember much after the woods. I think I heard someone say something about "Airport Road" and "front-loader" and Eumetopias jubatus. Next thing I knew, I felt a sharp pain in my ass and passed out. When I woke up I could smell salt water and was like YAASSS KWEEEN and just dove right back in and started fishing again.

O.H.M.: Which brings us to today. What are your plans post-fame?

SSSL: I'm trying not to let it get to my head. I mean, it's not exactly something to be proud of, losing the ocean. Like who does that?! Still, I'm trying to practice self-care and forgiveness, and at this point I'm just grateful to everyone who helped get me home. The kindness my fellow mammals showed to me this past week has really got me in my seals. I mean feels.

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