Vancouver Island - Steller Sea Lions

The Steller sea lion, Eumetopias jubatus, is found in the northern Pacific and is the largest species of eared seals. Stellers have a mixed reputation amongst Canadian divers. I have met some divers who consider them to be aggressive and even dangerous and avoid diving in areas where there is a liklihood of seeing more than the passing individual, which in my experience are always gently curious and not in any way intimidating. If you are lucky enough to get in with a group of these large animals, they can be really playful in an in your face kind of way, and to the inexperienced this can be a little bit too exciting. Divers have apparently been bumped and had bones broken by Stellers. Their reputation is not helped by the fact that this species has been known to supplement its diet with other seals, and has a skull and dentition that looks uncannily like that of a big grizzly bear.

But forget all that. Steller seal lions are brilliant to dive with. This species is a lot like the fur seals that live around southern Australia, except much, much bigger. While an adult male Australian fur seal grow to 600 kg, stellers can get to well over 1000 kg. The important thing is that they are just as curious and playful as the Australian fur seal and just as keen to interact with divers. Great fun!

Sea also Steller Sea Lions 2013

It didn't hurt too much!!
All these photos were taken
while diving solo.

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