Where the Boys Are


Katacha Díaz


I WAS OUT ON MY river view balcony watering plants when I heard loud barking. I grabbed the binoculars and spotted the wild California sea lions jostling for a place on a buoy to sun themselves. The boys are back!

The vocal pinnipeds return by the thousands in the fall to rest, and they crash on their favorite spots in town — Astoria’s piers, docks, buoys and rock jetties. Sea lions are opportunistic eaters and swarm the river to chomp on smelt and salmon, wreaking havoc on local fishing. Most visitors are surprised to learn the barking mammals of the sea are a fixture in the North Oregon Coast in fall, winter and spring, migrating south during the breeding season, but there are always a few stragglers year round. 

I stopped what I was doing to walk down the hill to the Riverwalk for a front-row view. It was mind-boggling! Several thousand rowdy sea lions had taken over the East Mooring Basin’s boat docks and were lying on top of each other.   

I followed the barking up river to Pier 39. Groups of juveniles were jumping, or “porpoising,” out of the water and playfully chasing each other. After crash landing, the barking sea lions jostled for a spot on the rocky breakwater.  

Astoria, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, is where the boys are, but come springtime they will swim south to California to meet the girls for a summer of love.


Return to Fall 2018 Volume 10.1


Katacha Díaz


Wanderlust and love of travel have taken KATACHADÍAZall over the world to gather material for her stories. Among the children’s books she has authored isBadger at Sandy Ridge Roadfor the Smithsonian Institution’s Backyard series. Her work appears or is forthcoming with Westview, Poetry Pacific, The Pangolin Review, Anak Sastra, Visual Verse, Cecile’s Writers’, Medical Literary Messenger, The Galway Review, Peacock Journal, The MacGuffin, Flash Frontier, New Mexico Review, Route 7 Review, Gravel, Foliate Oak, and elsewhere. She lives and writes up in her perch with a wide view of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.