Stelller's sea lions (Eumetopias jubatusare) are the largest of all sea lions, listed as endangered, but now making a bit of a recovery. We went to some offshore rocks near Campania Island, BC, where a sizeable population hangs out. As we approached the rocks a lot of the sea lions dove into the water and I thought we had scared them off the rocks. But they rafted up in a large pack, and swam right next to the boat vocalizing and looking up at us. They seemed to be having fun and I was thrilled to see this behaviour, never having experienced it before, in spite of a lot of time on the water with seals and sea lions present. This continued for the entire time we stayed in the area making it clear that they were seeking the interaction with our boat. We tested this theory by moving away from the rocks and the sea lions disappeared. We returned to the rocks and the raft formed up again with another exuberant display of curiosity.
Stellar's sea lionsEumetopias jubatusareadolescentsraftcuriousexhuberantCampania IslandBritish Columbianear threatened
From Whale Channel, Squally Channel