Tansy Visits Sea Lions


Tansy was fascinated by the Stellers sea lions that she saw from the schooner Passing Cloud several times on her recent voyages around Gwaii Haanas in Haida Gwaii.

 These ones were seen on Garcin Rocks, a rookery off the east side of Benjamin Point, at the south end of Moresby Island (this link goes to a map, which you can zoom out on to see where it is).

There were quite a few pups on the rocks, and the alpha males were defending their harems from wannabee alphas.  There seems to be a constant commotion at this rookery.

  Tansy wanted the photographer to make a video so that everyone could hear how much noise they make.


She is very pleased that video cannot convey smell, because she has never smelled anything worse, even from upwind.

Here is the video, with no smell:





11 thoughts on “Tansy Visits Sea Lions

    • I suspect you are a Selkie! Tansy says she and her human friend were happy to do the filming, they know how difficult it is for the average person to get to see (let alone smell) them that close!

  1. Great unscented video! Thank you! We visited Gabriola island a few years ago, and there is a seal rock in the harbour. The noise is not low pitched like the Sea Lions, but high pitched bellowing – an unbelievable cacophony – it was truly astonishing!

  2. These” Passing Cloud” stories are fun, interesting, informative and absolutely captivating. The videos are so much fun to look/listen to. We get an inkling of what it’s like on the schooner, an adventure that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
    Tansy is precious in her little red clothes and she is such an accomplished mate. The photos are wonderful.
    O.K. not to be gross or too graphic but when you say that the sea lion area has an odor, do you mean a fishy smell? I would think that any “waste” they have would be flushed into the salt water…I am just very curious about that.

    • Hi Mary Anne – Tansy has asked that I try to answer the odor question, but there is only a small and suitably polite lexicon for that smell and together we struggle to find the words.

      If it were wine, you might find a description on the label something like: A stringent nose that bridges the succulent interior of rotting fish, the heady aroma of steaming chicken manure and the cantankerous penetrating ripeness of pig droppings strained through the flippant essence of work socks carefully worn, unwashed, for a few months in airless rubber boots. The after-taste concentrates overtones of rotten-tooth-and-gums-halitosis in the mouth which are inclined to escape to the nose for a brazen second course of richly organic midtones.

      Not to be gross or anything, but that might get you close. The sea lions spend time higher than the waves ever wash, so stuff sticks around cooking in the sun, when there is sun. I think sea lions probably have extremely bad breath as well; not that I, or Tansy, would want to get so close as to be certain. We have, however, been enveloped in the spray of a spouting whale, and can confirm an equally bad smell festering in the lungs of the sea lion’s larger cetacean cousins.

        NO FIGS.

  3. thank you for that ever so vivid description of Eau de Sea lion!! And thank you for the fascinating and fun video! Having never seen sea lions in the wild it was really interesting.

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