Stellar Sea Lions are often seen on out tours and are common in large numbers from late August until the end of our season. Stellar Sea Lions are creatures of habit and will use the same rocks to haul out on year after year. Stellar Sea Lions do not migrate, but they do move throughout the season from resting, feeding and mating(rookery) areas. They eat a variety of fish, but can often be seen feeding on migrating salmon that pass through Blackfish Sound, where we spend a lot of time whale watching.
The last 3 years we have been starting to view sea otters in our area more regularly. They are still often a distance away, but the sightings are increasing with some “rafts” of them developing in areas near the western portion of our whale watching trips. These animals were hunted heavily for their fur and were completely wiped out of British Columbia waters. Re-introduction occurred from Alaskan otters in the 1960’s. They have long been protected and their numbers have been steadily increasing along the exposed BC coast and are now moving back into inside waters. They are unique in that they don’t have the insulating blubber that other marine mammals use to keep warm. As a result they have dense (over 1 million hairs per square inch) fur and feed heavily. They are important in balancing the eco-system. They eat a lot of sea urchins, which eat a lot of kelp. Kelp is extremely important as it provides cover for juvenile fish and is where the herring spawn in the early spring. With the increase in these otters we are seeing a greater abundance and healthier kelp forests.Visit our Blog