Elleda Wilson: In One Ear: Barnacle Bill

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Jun. 10—"An elephant seal, dubbed Barnacle Bill, became quite popular when he decided to haul out on multiple northern Oregon beaches over Memorial Day weekend," Tiffany Boothe of the Seaside Aquarium reported, "filling both visitors and locals with concern for his well-being." Her photo of Bill is shown.

He first showed up on Falcon Cove beach on May 17, acting lively, but looking awful from molting. "The salt water irritates their open wounds, and they have a hard time regulating their body temperature," Tiffany explained. "Being out of the water allows them to warm up and get some well-needed rest.

"During this process large hunks of skin will often come off along with the old fur. This can create large sores and open wounds but it is a natural process."

Bill's nickname comes from the patches of pelagic gooseneck barnacles growing on his back and flippers.

Next stop, Arch Cape for a few days, then a few more on Nedonna Beach, before moving to Cannon Beach to lounge in front of Haystack Rock on Memorial Day weekend.

"Staff from the Haystack Rock Awareness Program did a wonderful job watching over him," Tiffany said, "making sure people and dogs did not disturb his peace."

He completed his coastal tour in Manzanita, where it was obvious he was starting to heal. On June 1, he bade farewell to the North Coast.

"Over the two weeks that he visited, we received a lot of calls from concerned citizens," Tiffany added, "and with the help of state parks and the Haystack Rock Awareness Program, we were able to educate people about the natural process of molting ... We are so thankful for all our partners and this wonderful community."