Feeding frenzy

We’re currently on a little side trip from Santiago at the seaside city of Valparaíso, an hour or two from Chile’s capital. It’s our last night here already – and also my first with internet since we arrived and now that I’m on line I just have to share some photos.

We’re staying at a B&B outside of the city center. It’s a short walk to the metro, which runs parallel to the Bay of Valparaíso’s coastline and gets us into the city in no time. An unexpected benefit is that the metro stop is right by a fisherman’s market and the piers behind them.

Each day there, we’ve gotten to marvel over the spectacle of gulls, pelicans and sea lions hanging out and squabbling over the fish and crab scraps the fishermen toss them from time to time. It’s like our very own David Attenborough special in real life, up close and personal.

The sea lions are too massive to be believed. They are these great hulking monoliths of slick fur and flubbering flesh lumbering across the sand, flopping into worn out piles to sun themselves, baring teeth, bellowing like disgruntled wookies and charging each other over food. Everything changes once they hit the water, where they immediately transform into weightless, elegant creatures gliding effortlessly through the water.

The gulls in the photos might make it seem like the sea lions are not that big. Don’t be fooled. They are colossal. I mean both the sea lions and the sea gulls. The cacophony the birds create when bits of crab or fish are available to fight over is insane!

And the Peruvian pelicans are incredible. They waddle, pigeon-toed, around the pier with their chins tucked deferentially into their chests like they were insecure about asking for fish, but they become magnificent when they take to the air, swooping about pterodactyl-like on massive wings.

So here are some of my favorite photos, in no particular order…

Fishing boats with the pier in the back ground. If you look close, you can already see the sea lions on the beach under pier. 

Pelicans going for fish scraps

Sometimes the sea lions get pretty aggressive with each other. Made me really happy to be watching from the pier above. 

A sea lion dives for crab scraps 

Sea lion and gulls

Gull, pelicans in the background

Diving for scraps

A fisherman dumping crab scraps

And the chaos that ensues…

A tern checking out the action from above

“Back off!!!” I love the look on the one gull’s face

Jack pot!

Pelicans eyeing the action below

Pelican coming in for a landing 

Cormorant and sea lion

Coy pelican

A tern glides above as a sea lion floats below

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