Roar, Sea Lions, Roar!
If you have seen the short clip of my encounter, you probably think I should change this blog title to “Burp, Sea Lions, Burp!” On April 13, 2016, I was invited by my supervisor, Joe Delabrue, and his Bald Eagle/sea lion partner, Martin Hutten, to visit Liesnoi Island, which is inhabited by loud and powerful sea lions. Our objectives were to change the battery and memory card of three cameras that have been set around a popular spot where sea lions gather on the island, and to take pictures so I could conduct a sea lion count later. We try to hide away in the woods so the sea lions feel little stress with us around working with the cameras. The video was
taken fifty yards away, and in that distance I was both astonished and completely terrified by these unique marine mammals. The close-up picture of the sea lion which decided to give a unique expression behind the one roaring was taken by Martin when he was fewer than five yards away, with the sea lions completely unaware of his presence, while I was ten yards away cowering behind a tree with my heart racing so fast I thought it would burst. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see these majestic creatures roaming out in the wild, making every animal and human on the island of Wrangell aware that Liesnoi is their home.