Elegant, agile and curious, sea lions own this harbour. You can’t leave a dinghy in the water because they will be aboard it within minutes. 1,000 of them inhabit the bay and they have taken over the waterfront esplanade. The locals don’t even seem to notice them but we are entranced.
On the sand we watch a posturing beachmaster protecting his harem against pheromonal young challengers. Just like humans, Rosie observes. The poor beachmaster is so busy guarding his women that he cannot go to sea to feed, so his term as boss usually only lasts a month or two, until he becomes so malnutrited that he is finally defeated.
All the local boats are draped with sleeping animals, who seem able to find their way aboard anything. At night the bay sounds like an old men’s TB ward – much coughing, spluttering, sneezing, hacking and bellowing. We have been warned not to leave our dinghy in the water – it will be commandered in no time. Water taxis only cost a dollar and are very prompt, so it’s a no brainer.