Otto the Otter by Hearty
I want to tell you a story about where we live. Lissin and I are incredibly lucky because we live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. You see 20 years ago a big mudslide washed away the road to our house so we get to hike to home along a beautiful trail that overlooks the ocean. We sometimes see whales from our porch and our house is built on stilts so that when the waves are huge the ocean can go right under it. When I first moved into this amazing place called Shelter Cove, I met a friend who I named Otto.
I am a surfer and I have been surfing since I was seven, so moving to the beach was a dream come true and I surfed every day. We often see seals when were surfing but one day I saw an Otter floating on his back eating a big old crab. The next day that same Otter was there and I said hello but kept my distance like I do with the seals. On the third day, after I paddled out and was waiting to catch a wave this Otter suddenly popped out of the water right in front of my board and I was surprised but he seemed so friendly and I said Hi Otto. Day after day, Otto was there floating on his back breaking abalone shells and having a feast. I asked a neighbor if it was common to see Otters here and they said that he was the first. Not long ago, California Sea Otters were in danger of becoming extinct which means there were almost no sea otters left. Luckily some smart people who care did something about it and now they are protected and there are a lot of them in the Monterey Bay. Otto was one of the first to make it this far North. We became buddies and it got to the point where I would call out “Hey Otto!” and he would come over and pop his head up in front of my board then swim under me and pop his head up in back then swim off to eat some more. One Day in July I stood in the sand on the edge of the shore and put on my leash, which is the safety cord that goes from my ankle to the board. I walked into about waist deep water and Otto popped up right in front of my face! I said “Hey Otto, great to see you but uh you’re kind of close.” Then he dove between my legs and got all tangled up in my leash. I jumped onto my board and started paddling out to the break. I saw my buddy Ron looking at me and laughing his head up. I turned around and Otto was swimming right behind me. Well I made it out and a big wave came so I paddled for it. I felt the power of the wave start to take over and right when I stood up I got yanked back off the wave and when I turned around Ron was falling off his board laughing and Otto had my leash in his mouth keeping me from moving. Sometimes I would take off on a big wave and look down and see Otto right in front of me at the bottom of a wave and I would yell “Watch Out Otto!” And he would effortlessly dive down just in time and disappear.
It was sometime in August when the water gets warmer which makes for a lot of sea vegetation and a lot of little fish which bring a lot of bigger fish like salmon which brings a lot of fishermen, fisherwomyn and fishing Seals. Seals are great, but they are also very territorial, which means that they protect their turf. Well Otto was the only Otter around and one day those seals bullied him right out of the Cove. The next day when I was surfing I saw a huge seal come right up to Otto and flap his powerful flipper right at him. I watched the seal chase Otto right through the rocks and out of Shelter Cove for good. I have not seen him since but when I see trash on the beach I think about him and clean up what I can because I know that pollution makes it really hard for the Otters and the Seals and Salmon to survive. In fact I think about him often and before he left I wrote this song for him…
Otto the Otter Song by HeartyI’ve got a friend named Otto whose tummy grows so slow Though he eats crabs all day while floating on his back Now Otto the Otter he loves clean water So it’s up to you and me to not pollute the sea… Don’t pour those nasties down the drain Just refrain yeah use your brain… THINK! Cuz oil spoils Otto’s lunch and paint ain’t no fun to munch So let’s give Otto a fair chance to live. Because that very same water that’s loved by Otto Will soon become the rain That falls upon your windowpane and Then it pours down into a storm drain From there into the sea where Otto lives so free. Now we live here with Otto in a paradise called Shelter Cove Nearly every day we play in the waves. Yes Otto the Otter he loves clean water So it’s up to you and me To not pollute the Sea