It is almost a full moon and the spring tide is racing into Icy Strait through Inian
Pass from Cross Sound in the Gulf of Alaska. The Steller
(Northern) Sea Lions lie in wait to catch salmon as they return to their natal streams through the only access salmon have to inside waters in this part of Alaska. But wait! What are these curious creatures in bright orange vests doing in our feeding grounds? Larry Hobbs is the first to encounter the welcome committee.
A few false charges and some territorial displays let us know just whose fishing grounds we are visiting.
Hmmm...they don't look so bad after all! Once we are determined not to be a threat to sea lion lunch, curiosity takes over and the inspections begin.
Soon a game of "I dare you" starts. You remember this game from your childhood right? It goes something like this: "I dare you to get closer to that boat" and then the reply "I double dare you", usually followed by "I double dog dare you".
Soon the sea lions are right alongside, much to the delight of us all!
Video chronicler Beau Sylte gets some in-your-face shots as the games continue.
Soon all the youngsters on the block have us surrounded and are checking us out. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but here in Southeast Alaska it just makes for a Steller day!
for more information on how you can join me in August and September of 2009 to see and film Steller sea lions in Southeast Alaska.