A vote for sharing the Children’s Pool
La Jolla residentThere is a rising movement toward people and seals sharing the Children’s Pool. Here’s how to keep the seals safe, and give year-round beach and ocean access to humans: Separate the seals from the people with a moveable rope stretching from the beach to the water.
Fortunately, most seals leave for the summer, and return in the winter. During the summer, place the rope parallel and next to the sea wall, and lined up with the submarine rock. Most of the beach will be open for people to use, and the seals will have a sanctuary to lounge and sleep.
During the winter, move the rope toward the street and line it up from the rock at the base of the stairs with the rounded rock just offshore. That way, almost all of the shoreline can be used by the seals, and cold-water divers and swimmers may access the water too. At any time a seal might come onto the human side, and if he or she is uncomfortable, the seal side is always available for their safety.
Some say the water at the pool is polluted. I swam in the ocean up to the day the pool was closed, and a few times after that, and experienced no waterborne illness. None of the people I spoke to who swim at the pool have become sick. Apparently, a test to determine the effect seal E. coli has on people was inconclusive. I believe it will be safe for people to swim at the Children’s Pool, but further testing is necessary to prove this.
Usually, harbor seals are reluctant to haul out in the presence of humans. We know that our seals sleep with people just a few yards away. Their behavior has been altered, so even with people on the beach, the seals will still be able to behave naturally. Once, a young seal swam with me, and then touched its face on my swim fin. People can share the ocean and beach with seals.
I believe both seals and people have a right to use the beach and the sea. Let’s move ahead and share them.