Thursday, March 14, 2013

oh the noise, noise, noise!*


i feel pretty


wanna be startin' something

*Excuse my random Grinch reference, especially at this time of year, but it was appropriate considering the racket these big beasts can create. Just like last year, the beginning of March coincides with the spring herring run in the Strait. Countless fish appear in our waters to spawn, and their eggs cling to every bit of seaweed that washes ashore. And with all that herring and eggs comes a variety of other creatures big and small flocking to the east side of Vancouver Island to gorge on the calorie boon. While there are numerous places along the shore to spot the sea lions that come in to feed (including hearing them from my house), one of the best spots to see them haul out is down in Fanny Bay. And just like last year, I headed down to visit the big party.

On this sunny weekend day, I wasn't the only one - a steady of people came and went down the dock to stand on the float at the end and wonder at the raucous colony arguing over space on the pontoon floating just off shore. A constant chorus of "aaarr! aaarr! aaarr!" fills the air, so without even looking I know that most of these burly beast are California sea lions; a glance confirms this by noting the large sagittal crest on the foreheads of the big males. There are a few lighter, larger Stellers in the group, but they seem in the minority, at least for today. While eyes are instantly drawn to the sea lions hauled out on the pontoons and the edge of an aging Seaspan barge, there are plenty of swimmers in the water. Poking their heads out from under the barge stern. Swimming along the float edge in search of a space of their own to haul out. And a raft of creatures a little farther out, bobbing together as they nap with a flipper thrust toward the sky to soak up some sun and regulate their body temp. Even if I don't stay for long, it is always worth it to come spend a little time with these giant furry beasts.

But my own furry beast is waiting, albeit much smaller and less noisy. Thank you for all your kind comments about our new family member. He is fitting in quite well, despite the stress of adjusting to a new home, owners, and immediate neighbourhood (no big beach walks or new doggie friends just yet), all while finishing off a course of antibiotics and painkillers in his first few days with us. And as mentioned on fb last night, it seems I can be crafty even with a snoring pup's head resting in my lap!

Hope you're having a good week!


Anonymous said...

This is such a wonderful time of year. We are back on the Island after decades away and just caught the tail end of the herring run last year. This year has been fabulous. I'd never seen the sea lions basking on their backs before - it looks like a raft of broken eagle wings floating on the water. And I'd never seen seals leap right up out of the water. Or walked in endless beds of sand dollars at low tide, or...

kate said...

Showed my son the sealions at Fanny Bay last fall. He didn't want to leave they were so much fun to watch.

Netta said...

my boys loved watching and barking back. thanks for the tip!

Michele said...

Oh how lucky you are to be around such beautiful animals and the ocean. They are so sweet looking. I could walk the beach all day and watch the animals and hunt for natures treasures.

Jaime said...


This is so weird. I just visited this place with my parents last week and took almost the exact same picture with the Seaspan thingie above the sea lions!

They are a loud bunch, aren't they? lol.