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.
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.