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Stubborn stowaway

Lynnea Flarry of Ferndale,Wash., was out on the water last Sunday with her family picnicking on ClarkIsland when what appeared to be a seal took advantage of the swim ladder off the stern of her 31-foot Catalina and climbed aboard, according to The Associated Press.

When the large visitor proceeded to lounge on the deck for more than an hour, Flarry’s son and grandchildren took a dinghy back to the vessel to coax it back into the water. As they approached, the creature hid its head behind the lifesaver in a mediocre attempt to be hidden, according to the report.

After several attempts, Flarry’s son was able to use the boat hook to nudge the creature gently back into the water and they returned to the island. But Flarry’s granddaughter chose to stay on and snap pictures of the seal as it stubbornly swam around the vessel, according to the report. However, she was so distracted she forgot to pull the swim ladder up, and within minutes the seal flopped back on onboard to reclaim the choice sunspot.

The WolfHollowWildlifeRehabilitationCenter in FridayHarbor told Flarry that, judging from the pictures, it was a California sea lion about 2 to 3 years old, and weighed about 200 pounds. Brian Gorman, spokesman for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle, says it is legal to remove a marine animal from private property as long as the creature is not injured.

“It’s a real problem up and down the coast, particularly on docks,” Gorman said in the report.

Despite pleas from Flarry’s grandson, the family did not keep the sea lion as a pet.

— Elizabeth Ellis