The Seals were Steller but not Whales

We wanted to see whales.

It was a foggy day in Ucluelet. At least it was on our side of the peninsula. On the harbor (a ten minute walk away) it was crystal clear. At Jamies’ Whaling Station, the group coming back from an earlier trip said they’d seen lots of whales.  And so we went.

We saw lots of this.

But no whales.  March is the beginning of the annual whale migration.  During this time  20,000 Grey Whales move along the Pacific coast to their summer feeding ground in the Arctic.  On the shore we can see evidence of whales by the flumes of water spouting in the distance.  To truly see the whales, we have to get closer by boat. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. Despite being crystal clear in the harbour, we were socked in by fog in open water, where the whales were hiding.

We did see other wildlife.  The Steller seal lions (shown here) are native to the North Pacific. They’re distinguished from the California seal lion by their look and sound.  The Califorinians have a loud ‘ark, ark’ bark and the Stellers have a lower growl. Stellers have a lighter brown-blond colour and are much bigger, almost twice as big. The bulls grow up to 2200 lbs (~ 1,000 kg)  and have a distinct ‘mane’ on their upper torso which the Californian do not have.

We saw both types of seal lions.  The Steller colony was dominating a rocky island, sharing space with a large group of sea otters, while the Californians hung out in the harbour.

Seal Lions-
Steller seal bull with his colony

While we didn’t see the whales, we actually had an excellent day out. It was our first time on the water and it was wonderful to see the coast line and islands in Barclay Sound.  Besides, since we hadn’t seen any whales Jamie said we could have another trip for free.   We will be back!

Ucluelet. April 2019

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