A group of sea lions fell asleep last night lying on their floating dock tied to Port Dock One. But when they awakened this morning, they realized they were going for a ride. The tie chain had broken, allowing the somewhat dilapidated sea lion dock to drift seaward on an outgoing tide.
A number of spectators were snapping pictures of the humorous scene while others were calling the Coast Guard that there was a definite hazard to mariners headed for the jettys.
The Coast Guard scrambled and launched a motor lifeboat. They soon spotted the well populated piece of dock and made a bee-line for it. When the sea lions realized their little watery soiree was coming to an end, they all bailed out.
The motor lifeboat pulled along side the dock, attached a line, and towed it back toward its mooring area. They secured it to a piling behind Undersea Gardens.
The dock, despite being in such bad shape, will again be attached to its normal mooring off Port Dock One. But it’s likely to be there for only a short time, because construction of a much upgraded and sturdier Sea Lion Dock will soon begin. New pilings are being sunk and the new sea lion dock will be attached to them.
The Sea Lion Dock Foundation says thanks to the Newport City Council and their grant of $50,000, the new sea lion docks will be constructed over the next few weeks. However, an expanded viewing deck, jutting out from the dock, won’t be complete until about this time next year. State law requires that all in-water work in Yaquina Bay be performed from November 1st to February 15th to ensure fish spawning is not affected.