Cowichan Bay is a small little picturesque waterfront community on the southern edge of Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley. But off Vancouver Island, you can get up close and personal with steller sea lions. © Copyright 2020 - Vancouver Island View. Or do you get a break once in a while? The female Stellers can be closer to the male California sea lions with a max of 450 kg (1000 lbs) but the Stellars light color contrasts the California’s dark chocolaty color. There are no companies offering snorkeling tours of any kind in the Port McNeill area – only scuba diving with Sun Fun Charters. Thanks for the tip!!! The Steller Sea Lion is the largest species of sea lion in the world and certainly look (and sound!) You can’t wonder into the middle of a pack of buffalo on the Serengeti plains. No, I suppose it isn’t! Are they there most of the year? Steller sea lions are the largest of the 5 species of sea lion and are the fourth largest pinniped in the world behind the northern elephant seal, southern elephant seal, and walrus. Now with increasing western sea lions up to 5% per year, the western and eastern stocks are almost the same, though the eastern stock is increasing again as well. I do believe that they have moved onto French Creek, but I haven’t been able to confirm this yet. Hours. Shipping and handling. The Marine Mammal Centre says California sea lions are found as far north as Vancouver Island and as far south as Baja California in Mexico. Bulls aggressively defend their territory and can go without eating for 1-2 months to do this. Once I get confirmation about this, I will officially rewrite this article with the new information. The Sea Lions have moved on from the location mentioned below. My cousin lived just up the road from the government dock in Fanny Bay, and you could hear the sea lions day and night. I, however, was awestruck by the sight of them lazing in the faint Spring sunlight looking like a pile of fat kings. The beheaded sea lions are washing ashore on Vancouver Island in Canada Short has done her own investigation into the deaths and found several proposals from … If you want to make your trek to Fanny Bay really worth while, head a bit further south to the Deep Bay Marine Field Station. Oh wow! The harvesting proposal is being made by Pacific Balance Marine Management, the group that posted the photos as … During the drive along the inland highway there was a bit of doubt running through my mind that the Sea Lions would still be there. So fun! All rights reserved. Steller Sea Lions vs California Sea Lions Unlike other pinnipeds the light colors don’t change when the fur is wet. In 2014, at least 12 headless seal carcasses were found on the banks of the St. Lawrence in Quebec. They can dive up over 300 meters and staying submerged for up to 8 minutes. The gravel parking area is easily found to the right of the Government Wharf, just off the main highway. We return to Vancouver Island in late October to see the sea lions. […]. “We were unable to locate it but did perform medical care on sea lions at Race Rocks on the same patrol,” Sloan said. In Canada, marine mammals are legally protected by the Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act — and the status of Steller sea lions are considered “special concern.” The eastern stock goes to Russia and Japan, while the western stock is from California to Alaska. Steller sea lions are the most common sea lion on Vancouver Island and numbers are estimated close to 25,000 in British Columbia. California sea lions are found from Vancouver Island, British Columbia to the southern tip of Baja California in Mexico. Walk to the end of the wharf and you will be in for quite a sight! I had heard a rumour that they were no longer there. Subscribe to our newsletter and get exclusive offseason deals. They offer public tours, and it is a great place for family fun, and hands-on exhibits of marine life found in Baynes Sound and the Salish Sea. Last updated June, 2020. Sea-lion life should have been idyllic – basking in the sun, dozing, shagging everyone in turn, dropping into the water for an occasional swim and a feast of fresh fish. Rob Bailey is your guide to Canada’s rugged island paradise Words + Photographs Rob Bailey […] You can read more about these sea lions and how to get to the Government Wharf in our post entitled: The Best Spot to View Sea Lions on Vancouver Island. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. All Rights Reserved, things to do with kids on vancouver island, The Magnificient Rosewall Creek Falls - Vancouver Island View, Exploring Parksville’s Best Parks and Trails, Exploring Parksville's Best Parks and Trails, The Ultimate Vancouver Island Bucket List. What majestic beasts. Open the door and you will smell their pungent aroma. Steller and California Sea Lions gather in Cowichan Bay to gorge themselves on spawning salmon and bask in the sun on the breakwater. Further research revealed this particular area is the best spot to view sea lions on Vancouver Island! Sea-Lions Vancouver Island BC Unused Vintage Postcard G64. In 2013, four headless sea lions were found on Vancouver Island beaches. Where do you think the best spot is to view sea lions on Vancouver Island? There is a rumour that they may be still in their pack and now located across from the French Creek Marina. Then, this past week, photos of headless sea lions … Thankfully our excitement and eagerness to see the big beasts up close was warranted! Daily food requirement is about 15-20 kg for mature females, and 30-35 kg for mature males and about 7% of body weight. She says images of the lifeless pinnipeds recommend a sample of their accidents. Renowned as one of the world’s best cold-water dives, Vancouver Island has clear water, a great climate, miles of coastline – and massive marine life, including leviathans such as wolf eels, sea lions and the legendary giant Pacific octopus. Wildlife Viewing Tours and Operators on Vancouver Island and BC Islands My son held his hands over his ears at their loud bark. Learn how your comment data is processed. — The nets of a salmon farm ensnared and drowned 51 California sea lions earlier this month, more than in all of 2006, a spokesman for the Vancouver Island fish-farm operator says. Each winter they amass in great anticipation of the spawning herring, which happens in February. The male, or bull, is a huge animal, with an average weight of about 700 kilograms. Males typically live up to 14 years and females up to 22 years. Steller Sea Lions are some of the noisiest (never mind smelliest), marine mammals on our coastline. But happiness is a question of temperament not circumstances, and sea lions are the Alf Garnetts of the ocean. While reading a local magazine, I happened to come across an article about the California Sea Lions currently ‘stationed’ in Fanny Bay. They can be seen on all areas on Vancouver Island though you will most likely see them from a boat since they seem to hang out on isolated rocks and small islands. A rather large colony of Sea Lions hang out on the man-made floats just off the end of the Government Wharf. We went around 4:30pm and there were fishing boats unloading their days catches and the sea lions were very active. Vancouver Island supports black bears, cougars, wolves, elk, deer and many other mammal and bird species, both abundant and threatened in numbers. I miss the west coast. Yes, French Creek harbour/marina is also a great place to see sea lions. They are binge feeders, eating all they can when food is plentiful, and then rest for long periods of time. They breed mainly on offshore islands, ranging from southern California's Channel Islands south to Mexico, although a few pups have been born on Año Nuevo and the Farallon Islands in central California. Headless sea lions have been reported in Canada before, including 4 in 2013 in Vancouver Island and 12 in 2014 in Quebec, on the other side of the country. It is mostly male California sea lions that spend from September to May here since the females usually stay all year in California and Oregon. Steller sea lions’ low-frequency vocalizations closer to a roar compared to California sea lions’ vocalizations, which sound more like a bark. Bulls (adult males) become sexually mature from 3 and 8 years of age but they can usually only hold a territory successfully until 9 or 10 years old when they are large enough. No matter how many times I see them, it just never gets old. Steller Sea Lions vs California Sea Lions Steller sea lions can be confused with California sea lions but the two are different in color and size. Reproduction/Life Cycle Steller sea lions are colonial breeders where adult males establish and defend territories to mate with females and create rookeries. Although my first inclination was to wait until the weekend so that we could go as a whole family, hubby included, after looking at the dismal weather report for Saturday and Sunday, I thought to myself “why not right now”! D. Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing. The front flippers are longer and wider than the rear and provide the primary propulsion. We recently moved to Parksville and this was a real treat to hear them and only a 5 minute drive down to the marina to see them. A Nanaimo, B.C., woman is calling for a thorough investigation after a number of sea lions were found decapitated on the eastern shores of Vancouver Island. A very cool experience and we grabbed some fresh caught salmon at the sea food shop in the harbour too! Females usually mate at 4 to 6 years of age and will most likely birth one pup each year. Feeding Being very opportunistic feeders, Steller sea lions take advantage of sleeping fish at night meaning they don’t have to work too hard for their catch. Located on the Eastern most coast of Vancouver Island between Parksville and Courtney (on Hwy 19A – or the “Oceanside Route”), Fanny Bay is a sleepy little village more known for the delicious oysters that come out of the waters of Baynes Sound. National Geographic wildlife documentarian Bertie Gregory had a similar encounter when he plunged in the water to observe sea lions in their natural habitat, in the waters off Vancouver Island. Her dogs bark actually changed from it’s regular little havenese bark to sounding like the sea lions. Tell us proposals, you are interested in: Farmers Markets/Products on Vancouver Island, Steller Sea Lions vs California Sea Lions. Copyright 2018 © Discover Vancouver Islands. There are large colonies of Steller’s, or Northern, Sea Lions off northern Vancouver Island, and off the southern end of Haida Gwaii, the former Queen Charlotte Islands. Further research revealed this particular area is the best spot to view sea lions on Vancouver Island! That’s wonderful to hear, Kelly! TOFINO, B.C. Fun! Being noisy and stinky! After packing some essential snacks, and setting the tunes to our favourite driving songs, the kids and I were ready for our mini road trip to Fanny Bay. Not so good when you live there and have to listen to the noise all hours of the day and night, and the smell! They can be seen on all areas on Vancouver Island though you will most likely see them from a boat since they seem to hang out on isolated rocks and small islands. Steller sea lions can feed alone or in groups of up to 100 if feeding on schooling fish. This item will ship to United States, but the seller has not specified shipping options. Some may reach 1000 kilograms, with a body length of up to three metres. There is a distinct population of California sea lions at the Galapagos Islands. In the harbour of French Creek we saw about 50 Seelions lazing around!! She said they now hang out a ways further up the shore (but I can’t say just where that is). I am sure they are glad the sea lions moved on. at The Best Western Dorchester, #2-70 Church St, Nanaimo, BC, Canada V9R 5H4. Yearly Sea Lion Migration in Vancouver Island City. The CBC reported that in 2013, four decapitated sea lions were found on Vancouver Island Beaches, and in 2014, 12 seal carcasses were found at St … For although the magazine was current, who really knows how long they stay in a particular area? 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