Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

Sea Lions


California sea lions used to visit Vancouver Island every spring and stay for the summer, following the salmon up the coast and back down to California. But in recent years many have set up residence on Vancouver Island. Why do all that traveling when the food supply is fairly constant here?

The Steller’s sea lion, named for the same man who studied the Steller’s jay, is another type of sea lion that visits our coast, usually farther north.

From these photos, I can’t tell which is which, or even whether there are both kinds of sea lions here. I do know that California sea lions, averaging about 220 lbs. (females) and about 700+ lbs. (males) are much smaller than the Steller’s sea lions which can weigh on average 580 lbs. (females) and almost 1200 lbs. (males). The males quite often weigh much more than that.

Their loud barking carries a long way across the water, as they sun themselves and socialize.

Not enough room on the raft? Make your own raft of bodies.


Sea lions don’t target humans who might be in the water with them, but they have been known to nip them when they get too close, and a nip with those huge teeth would not be funny.

Enemies of sea lions are mainly sharks and killer whales.

Picture by Pat G.

I’m surprised these sea lions seem so calm when the coastal ferry, Salish Orca, motors past, especially when it has pictures of the killers on its hull.

Here is a video taken by a friend. You can hear a couple of short sea lion barks (or coughs) near the end of the clip.

The sea lion couple were both rather large,

Bubba was nearly the size of a barge.

Grace, oh my darling, you’re getting so fat,

Can’t you lose weight and be sleek as a cat?


Bubba, my dear, it’s a way to keep warm,

And can’t you express yourself better, with charm?

Because after all, you are chubby, dear Bubba,

Don’t bother saying, it’s only your blubber.


Clumsy on land, Grace is propped on her flippers,

Slips in the water to eat several kippers,

Gliding around as her breakfast she nips,

Bubba’s in awe of her grace as she dips.


Twirls like a dancer in water ballet,

Bubba is speechless with nothing to say.

Slips in beside her, his flipper he waves,

Swims up to kiss her, this dancer he craves.


Let me protect you, my dear, you look pale, 

I’ll keep watch for trouble, a shark or a whale,

We’ll stay safe together, of you I’ll take care,

And fight off the enemy boldly, I swear.



Grace floats around looking up at the sky,

Bubba is wondering, lets out a sigh,

How did I not see the beauty at hand?

Grace, I’m your servant, your wish my command.



Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

57 thoughts on “Sea Lions

  1. How wonderful. Amazing the California sea lions are holding their own with the Stellers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s hard for me to tell if there are Steller’s among the groups in these photos, but I know they are around, especially farther north. The California ones seem to have moved up here in greater numbers.


  2. Great photos and poem! I like the video – they sound like they’re coughing after swallowing too much sea water. I haven’t been to Vancouver Island since 2019, so no sightings lately for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s what I thought too. They sounded like they were coughing, and maybe they were. Their usual barking is a little bit different and goes on for longer. When you come back to the island, I’m sure the sea lions will be here waiting for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is a shame that I never made it to visit Vancouver Islands while staying on the “Charlottes”.
    The pictures and the video clip are beautiful and so is your poem to go with the pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember seeing sea lions in San Francisco…they were like a giant chorus. Great shots!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Faszinierende Tiere. Man kann sie bei uns an der Nordsee auf Seehundbänken sehen. Sie sind geschützt.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The sea lions are very noisy with their penetrating bark. When we travelled with our boys to the Oregon coast in 1983, we visited the sea lion caves. Their noise was stupendous but also their smell.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve never thought of Sea Lions as dangerous–despite their name–and am thankful you confirmed that.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I had no idea that the sizes vary so much, very interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Aww. Who knew that sea lions were so romantic? A fun poem. Anneli. We see lots of sea lions when we head up the coast into Washington. I don’t know what kind they are, but I enjoy watching them. I wouldn’t want to be bit by one though!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Given their size you have to wonder if they leave any fish for the fishermen. I do like your poem 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Cool. Did you take the pictures, or were those your friend’s?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. An amazing post, Anneli! Thanks for sharing these wonderful creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Carol. I love hearing the sound of them when they’re barking even though we’re probably a mile away from the bay we overlook at a distance. You can hear the barking all the way to our house, especially in the morning when the world is quieter.


  13. I enjoyed the Bubba and Grace poem!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I loved the poem! It made me smile! The photos are fantastic!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. These are amazing images and this poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What a fun poem, Anneli, and I love sea lions. We live in CA, so we see them often and know they can nip if the need arises. Great photos, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wow, it’s amazing that you can see a change in your lifetime. I mean, doesn’t that stuff usually take many generations? I wonder if that means negative stuff about their original habitat. They are such cool animals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, we had big runs of salmon for many years and I guess the sea lions that came up this way were comfortable. But yes, it is interesting to see changes in animal habits. Maybe it had something to do with the warm currents coming up this way whenever that was. Hah! I just looked up El Niño and was surprised to read that the first one (that anyone knows about) happened in 1578! And here I thought it was a big deal that was happening because of climate change. The El Niño current that happened in 1982-1983 was a big one that stopped and then reversed the directional flow of the trade winds. So … I learned something today.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Anneli, your poetic verses capture the beauty and grace of a sea lion in the water. They feel very much in their element there. Years ago, some friends and I traveled the Pacific Coast Highway. We caught sight of a few sea lions along our coastal journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are a real contradiction – rather ugly, but in the water they really are graceful. I watched one diving and twisting around beside our fish boat many years ago, when we dropped a small pink salmon into the water for him while we were anchored. It was as if it were a different creature from those clumsy ones on the rocks.


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