This posting is typical for why I set up this blog (and the identity of “The Marine Detective”). I want to share what I learn from my marine adventures.
I was diving off Northern Vancouver Island when my buddy and I had a “swim-by” from several male California Sea Lions and one male Steller Sea Lion.
Many of you know that the two species can be discerned very easily because California Sea Lions bark and Steller Sea Lions growl. Yep, you could be blind and determine which sea lions species is present.
You can’t miss the barking of California Sea Lions when they are on land.
What I hadn’t fully realized was . . . you can hear them bark underwater too!
See my video below./strong>
Please note that it is against my ethics (and the law) to target seal and sea lion haulouts for the purposes of diving with them. This certainly constitutes “disturbance” of marine mammals and also leads to the animals losing their wariness and becoming habituated to humans. This has led to significant human injury. It definitely does not help the seals and sea lions either to be habituated to people as there are those who believe there are “too many” and that they should be killed.
However, sometimes, as a result of being in their ocean, we have unexpected encounters like the one videoed here.
Update 2018: The amended Marine Mammal Regulations (federal law) now specifically include: “No person shall approach a marine mammal to, or to attempt to: (b) swim with it or interact with it.”