Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sea Lions sunning on their pier, before their nightly hunt

One of the things I learned about sea lions last month was their activity before going out hunting. It's not something I read.....and I might be all wrong. But this is what I saw over and over again this Fall.

I would kayak to their pier in the harbor after work and see them taking a nice nap. They'd start waking up as the sun started to hide behind Pillar Mt. The young ones would get in the water to play around the pier for about 30 minutes. Then some older ones would take them to play a few hundred yards away from their pier, to practice jumping and diving together. Later they went out of the harbor in a big group. I imagine it was for a nightly hunt.

My prior blog was was about them starting their trip out of the harbor and coming up to startle me in the kayak. They seemed to be having fun, and did not seem to intend me any harm.

Today's video is a series of 3 different visits I made while they were still sleeping. As the older ones woke and enjoyed the sun on the pier, the young ones would play in the water, swimming on their backs and letting their flippers catch the sun rays. Looked like fins of sharks sticking out...but barely moving as they floated by.

Hope you enjoy what I saw.

P.S. The trick, I learned, is to paddle very quietly up wind, and start very far away from their pier as they were still sleeping. Then I'd let the light wind carry my kayak towards them without making any sound. As long as I came slowly and quietly, they didn't get excited.

Admittedly this is in the Fall. They have returned form their Summer hunt and even the big ones have grown quite a bit since my Spring blog. Full tummy means a happy heart...and a non-mean sea lion. I would NOT ever try getting anywhere this close in the Winter or Spring time, when they are really hungry.

To see their behavior when they were really hungry, check out my YouTube from the end of Winter as I went eagle watching annoticed the sea lions at the edge of the dock. It starts with he arrival of 3 and eventually 15 to 18; all looking to get on board that fishing boat and getting a free meal. Two eventually did get on board, but didn't get to the fish before falling off the ramp.

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