Pelícanos y leones marinos

A gloomy old day, no rain, just overcast and cool all day, a perfect day for working.

Mid morning a siren went off loudly in the port, reverberating around the city and sending the dogs howling and barking. Hmmm we thought, could this be an earthquake about to happen? There was a mild shake or two in the building but nothing to be alarmed about. I looked up ‘earthquake alarm in Valparaiso’ to see what it would sound like for a major warning and there’s no mistaking this terrifying high-pitched wailing – not a sound I want to hear whilst here.

We ventured out in the afternoon, catching the port-front train to Caleta Portales, one of two main fish markets here. Wow, this place is super authentic – the real deal. No tourists, just old sea dogs (human and canine) mending their nets, snoozing, filleting fish and generally having a real good smelly old time of things (early afternoon was clearly the end of their day – catch landed, cigarettes rolled and lit and a cerveza in hand). Swirling around are probably hundreds of pelicanos that swoop down en-masse to sit on rooftops, trucks, bridges – anything really. I reckon if you stand still long enough you’ll end up with a pelicano on your head – certainly pelicano shit, which rains down from on high.

I watched as one fishing boat docked at the end of the pier, dozens of pelicanos launching from their perches, only to see a raft of huge sea-lions churning around the pier competing for discarded bait and anything a clumsy pelicano might let slip from its capacious beak. What a scene!

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