Alki Sea Lion

Tell us your tale of coming nose-to-nose with a 6 gill [--this big--], or about your vacation to turquoise warm waters. Share your adventures here!
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Gdog
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby Gdog » Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:27 pm

Freaking huge puppies

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oldsalt
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby oldsalt » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:20 am

I just don't want to be the chew toy for a big playful puppy.
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Tom Nic
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby Tom Nic » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:39 am

Grateful Diver wrote:I don't see the issue here ... they're just big playful puppies ...

Image

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:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby Grateful Diver » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:33 am

I don't see the issue here ... they're just big playful puppies ...

Image

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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby oldsalt » Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:35 pm

Tom: I'm with you. I have had many cool encounters with sea lions, including Hornby Island. The experience I related earlier was frightening, and painful. It involved several California sea lions (all males), and I was diving solo. I love wildlife. My hard drive is filled with pictures of grizzlies, orca, wolves, big horn sheep, and so on. However, I still remember these are wild animals, not pets. My son was injured when he was twelve years old when he was attacked by a trumpeter swan, an icon of grace and serenity. Enjoy them, but don't get complacent.
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Tom Nic
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby Tom Nic » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:11 am

Norris wrote:Here is an example of what I was talking about.


Yeah, that video definitely gives me the willies... :eek:

Seem to be two opposite schools of thought on the Sea Lions:

1) Sea Lions are awesome and fun! I love swimming with them!! It is amazing and don't worry!! What could go wrong?!?

2) Sea Lions are TERRIFYING and don't you realize you are in mortal danger when you're with them!?! Are you crazy!?!? You're lucky to be alive!

My take is kind of a hybrid of the two:

Sea Lions are very LARGE mammals with lots of sharp teeth. They are wild, and are not "your puppy doggy". You are not "one with the force" and don't "have a special connection" with them. Seriously?! Are you stupid?! :nutty:

They are WAY stronger than you are, you are in their element, and they could squash you like a bug if they so desired. I am very happy that for the most part they do not so desire! Be cautious when you dive with them, realize it is a risk, don't punch them or piss them off, and realize you are taking a risk. (I could insert the first hand accounts I've heard from folks of harrowing encounters, as well as a few of my own, but for space's sake I will not!) :boxer:

If you're really uncomfortable around them don't do the Hornby Island dive or don't find the rocks around Tatoosh where the big bull and his harem are hanging out and go exploring. If one finds you randomly don't worry too much, just be aware. They are curious, very dog like, and for the most part are just a joy to see and experience. And pray you don't get the cranky one that hates divers.

That is all. YMMV. :popcorn:
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Norris
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby Norris » Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:28 am

Here is an example of what I was talking about.
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Gdog
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby Gdog » Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:07 pm

Tangfish wrote:Maybe a bit disconcerting JT, but a cool experience nonetheless from the sounds of it, and a gentle reminder that WE are the visitors.

+1 to that

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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby Tangfish » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:04 pm

Maybe a bit disconcerting JT, but a cool experience nonetheless from the sounds of it, and a gentle reminder that WE are the visitors.

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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby GearHead » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:29 pm

Yeah, I was once subject to some curious nibbling by a pair of young females. Same trip as the other encounter that I mentioned above. My buddy and I were finishing our safety stop next to a kelp bed, when two sea lions cautiously approached me. I did my best still hover as one slid through the kelp to look at me face to face, about three feet away. She backed away briefly, then approached me again from above and gently mouthed the top of my hood, much as puppies do to find out about their world. As this was happening, the second female gently chewed on one of my fins. I maintained my hover until they satisfied their curiosity and swam off.


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Norris
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby Norris » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:23 am

Yeah I hear stories that they sometimes feel you up with their jaws. Someone in Sitka got a nibbling on their head, not enough to do damage but enough to startle the hell out of you. I have swam with them in Sitka and WOW do they look even larger underwater. Such graceful swimmers though.
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby theonly_JT » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:00 am

Thanks all for the replies, albeit mixed reviews. I kinda just kept my eye on it and held my light up to its face as I back peddled to shore. I agree with ohopdiver I wish i could read their body language better. In retrospect it was probably just really curious and didnt pose a threat but being my first huge sea lion encounter I was a little apprehensive. When I got back to shore I looked back in the water and sure enough there was a giant head of a sea lion popping out of the water watching me no more than 10 yards from shore. Anddd of course its literally the ONE dive I DONT bring my camera.... pics or it didnt happen right? :angry:


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Alki Sea Lion

Postby GearHead » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:01 am

I love watching sea lions cavorting in the water. Their movements express such joy in the way they zoom, twirl and fly underwater. The younger ones are like curious puppies when they see divers in the water, and the older ones can be quite playful, even if a bit intimidating simply by their size.
I once had one play a game of chicken with me about 80 fsw down on Browning Wall. Since I was way less maneuverable, there wasn't much I could do other than hold my place in the water column. On her second pass, I finally directed my 35W HID light at her eyes, which caused her to break off early and swim past me to one side. Then on her return run, she came so close that I was moved by her water displacement. I got that it was all in fun, and enjoyed being part of a game.

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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby CaptnJack » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:30 pm

I love it when they come by. They seem especially curious of the lack of bubbles on CCR
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby ljjames » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:06 pm

I love diving with them... They can be quite the pranksters, last time was down here in mid sound, was trying to get the perfect shot of an anemone so was very focused. Apparently the sea lion was there, watching, watching, watching, waiting, watching, waiting, watching, till I looked up over the camera and then it BARKED right in my face, zoom-looped around me laughing and finned off to play in my startled bubbles.
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby fmerkel » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:49 pm

And....people pay to go dive with them at Hornby Island and Race Rocks, MOBS of them. I've had one spend 30 minutes about 10 feet away watch my wife and I carve a pumpkin underwater. Obviously curious, but not hostile in any way. The packs at Race Rocks were pretty fascinating at first but we soon thought they were a nuisance. I was amazed they could bark underwater.
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby oldsalt » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:14 pm

I've posted several times about frightening encounters with sea lions. I have also had several that have just been interesting. Like Jeff, I had one follow us at the Possession ferry and then proceed to circle us the entire time we were hanging on the anchor line doing deco. The worst was when a half dozen came at me like bird mobbing a cat. When I focused on one, another would hit me from behind. Some times they freak out and leave when you shine a light in their face. I had one ignore that however.
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby ohopdiver » Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:53 pm

I had one charge strait at me from 25 feet away and stick its nose in my face on Possession Ferry last July. I'd like to know how to read their body language to tell when they are friendly or not.

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Jeff Pack
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby Jeff Pack » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:57 pm

yea, I hate those damned things. Always avoid.
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Re: Alki Sea Lion

Postby mz53480 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:16 am

Almost same experience once, but at a different site. I avoid them when possible.
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Alki Sea Lion

Postby theonly_JT » Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:47 pm

Went over to Cove 2 this afternoon to test out some new gear and my drysuit repair. I dropped down at the second buoy then headed over to the honey bear, about 1/2 way there I turn look off in the distance and see a giant Sea Lion coming straight at me! Having never seen one underwater before its safe to say it scared me pretty good. It made a good 3 or 4 passes coming right up in my face a couple times. :smt064 He seemed just a little bit too interested in me so I booked it back to shore. I've heard they're a little more aggressive than harbor seals but I didnt want to stick around and find out. Does anybody have any experience with sea lions?? Or is Alki a common place to see them? Its definitely the first time I have seen one there.

-JT
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