Yesterday Jim and I headed over to the West End island which is normally off limits as it is where the pinnipeds hang out and we don't want to disturb them for the most part. However, every two weeks or so Jim goes there to get a count on the different species. Everyday we get to see the Elephant Seals and California Sea Lions, but rarely do we have Northern Fur Seal sightings, so a trip over to West End is a pleasure, as you get to see the colony, which was at around 300 yesterday.
The first step to getting to West End is crossing a channel. We harness in and zip across between waves:
The second part of getting to areas where we can actually get counts on them is walking extremely slowly, and hopefully out of sight so as to not flush large groups (which can be dangerous for them and is quite a disturbance).
Here are a couple of pictures of the large masses of pinnipeds I saw. The four species (California and Steller's Sea Lion, Elephant and Northern Fur Seal) do some inter mixing but stick together for the most part.
This is looking out from the highest point on the West End down over much of where they hang out
Mostly Cali Sea Lions
There are not many Stellar's Sea Lions, but here is a female with her pup
The best part of the trip is getting to see all of the pups! The Fur Seals were obviously the cutest:
Squid, Scum, Styrofoam, Scavengers
4 days ago