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Sunday, 27 October 2013

A Sea Lion City

Male Stellar sea lion







Humpback whales breathing in Sync


We passed a sea lion rookery yesterday - there were masses of animals lying on the rocks like big over-stuffed yellow sausages - communicating in a conversational sort of way. The murmur of barking with occasional yaps by the females was underscored by the hefty WOOFS of the males. Sea lions are designed by Nature to appreciate the chorus they're hearing and contributing to by having exposed external ears. This is an advantage (along with that of 'speech') denied to seals who are additionally condemned to slithering along on their bellies. Sea lions can use their flippers to propel themselves over the ground albeit in an ungainly sort of way - especially when compared to their fluency and ease in the water. Even with ears and easier mobility aboveground, I still wouldn't want to be a female sea lion. The males are disproportionately huge - they stare down at the lowlier members of the group in a near-sighted, imperious sort of way and are quite capable of squishing the female during mating.

Speaking of mating, we saw a number of whales yesterday. Two different duos of Humpback Whales seemed to be synchronized in their breathing and diving. This led us to wondering whether we were watching a courting ritual, or whether this was just a female with her large adolescent child. We just don't know enough …

The Hand of Man inevitably displays itself in an unseemly and ugly way when set alongside the formidable natural beauties of the area. We know we've now moved south out of the Wilderness and into Civilization. In our anchoring spot Friday, someone had planted their claim in an ugly duet of orange and yellowed mooring balls. We're not immune to the same desire to extend the colour radius beyond forest green, blue and grey (especially if it's been raining for a while). I guess we're fortunate to be able to exorcize it by scuba diving and finding the other colours of the rainbow underwater - there are oranges, purples, yellows and fluorescent pinks to be seen in the collection of sea stars, encrusting algae, tunicates and cup corals.

Tonight we're surrounded by a Shantytown - complete with a garbage dump (no residents at this time of year). This is in an anchorage which we remembered as pristine twenty years ago. Luckily it was dark shortly after we moved in, and it will be dark when we leave.


Rose star
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At 27/10/2013 14:18 (utc) our position was 50°34.22'N 126°41.94'W

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