Sausalito’s mayor is hoping that her recent plunge into San Francisco Bay will help cover the last leg of a fundraising effort to restore her city’s iconic Sea Lion sculpture.

An experienced swimmer who has swum the English Channel, Mayor Melissa Blaustein dove into the Bay from Angel Island at 8:30 a.m. on July 5 and swam the two miles to her city’s waterfront.

“We are close to raising enough money for the restoration of our iconic statue,” Blaustein said. “This is my way of contributing my (sea) lion’s share.”

Sausalito's bronze sea lion sculpture stood offshore for decades before it was damaged by storms this past winter. It was originally fabricated from concrete in 1957 and replaced with the bronze version in the mid-1960s. (Sausalito Foundation via Pagransen)

Before it was damaged by winter storms, the bronze sea lion could be seen offshore at high tide and perched on the rocks at low tide.

Fabricated in concrete in 1957 by local artist Al Sybrian, the sculpture was starting to wear down by mid-1960s and was replaced by a bronze cast of the original.

Sausalito Mayor Melissa Blaustein. (Courtesy Melissa Blaustein/Facebook)

The cost of repairs and reinstalling the 1,900-pound sculpture is about $50,000. Organizers with the Sausalito Foundation said they hope to have it back on the waterfront by the end of summer.

Although the Bay is challenging for even the most capable of swimmers, Blaustein had an edge. She swam the English Channel in 2018 and is a dedicated marathon swimmer.

She hadn’t made the sprint from Angel Island to Sausalito before last week but said she has often swum other routes across the Bay, and especially along the Sausalito waterfront.

Donations to the sculpture restoration project can be made on the Sausalito Foundation website.