Welcome to the Island Rambles Blog

Hi my name is Nora and Welcome to my blog world. This is a nature and birding photo blog about Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada. I am trying to be a birder and I take photos of the birds and scenery I find. I hope you enjoy your time here and please come back again. PHOTOS WILL ENLARGE IF CLICKED. The photos are slide show enabled if you click on them. If you click on the top lighthouse photo it always takes you to the most recent summary list of my postings.


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Monday, May 14, 2012

Race Rocks and Sea Lions

This is a Northern Sea Lion at Race Rocks.   We call them Steller's Sea Lions.  I am working on "R" or Race Rocks for ABC Wednesday.  The Sea Lions spend the winter months here at Race Rocks and now seem to be around almost all year.  Also mixed in the pictures you may see a Californian Sea Lion as they all seem to hang out together.  I think the Californian ones are darker and Steller's are more golden, I really don't know so you can look at the shots and see if you can pick out the darker ones.
The Californian ones will bark more and the Northern ones will growl.  The Northern Sea Lion is the largest of the sea lion species and are threatened.  Mostly the very large males will lay in the sun here on a good day but in bad weather they will be under the water.  A male can weigh around 1,245 pounds.  My husband thinks they weigh more.
The males will live for around twenty years and the females can live as long as thirty years.  They only produce one pup each year.
They feed at night on fish, squid and octopus and the males are very aggressive and territorial.
It is always a challenge to take photos from a small boat that is going up and down with the waves.  I am lucky to get anything that turns out at all. We do not get in close to the sea lions, they are protected here and I use a long lens.  I try not to get the front of the boat in the shot as we bob up and down and I scream at the driver.  (poor husband!)
You may notice that these shots look different from my other shots.  I was experimenting and I put them through a photoshop paint program.  Not sure I like it.  What do you think of it?  They are photos I took in the past as we have not been out in the boat yet this year.  They look so cute below and they love to lay out on the rocks in the hot sun. 

Now here are some shots of the actual Race Rocks lighthouse.  This area is an ecological reserve and all shots were taken at a distance with a long lens.
There are several rock cairns and stone mounds on the rock indicating that it was used as a First Nations burial ground during period of AD500. (look closely below and you will see the sea lions surrounding the lighthouse)
On Boxing Day of 1860 the light at the rock was first turned on.  It was to help the ships navigate in the Strait of Juan de Fuca going to Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle and the inside passage.  It was impossible in the early years for the tall ships to make it into Victoria harbour at night and many ships went aground here.
Race Rocks is so named as the tide races swiftly around here.  It is located just off Rocky Point, the most southern point on Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada, and also the most south you can go on land on the Pacific Coast of Canada. It is very exciting to go here and I love it when the water is as calm as it was this day.  Not so much fun when it is choppy and you are in a little boat.
The tide is the strongest of any tide on the coast as all the tide for Georgia Strait, Haro Strait and Puget Sound rushes through here twice a day.   It is only around twelve nautical miles from the U.S. shore.
The first lighthouse keeper painted the black and white stripes on it to try to make it stand out from the shoreline.

The granite to build the lighthouse was cut in Scotland and shipped here and then barged out to the rock.

The memes for this week are below and thank you to those bloggers who give their time to host and screen and reply and collect all the bloggers up together so we can find each other in this huge web world of bloggers. What would we do without our memes. Thanks.
The memes for this week are listed below:  ABC Wednesday the letter "r" for Race Rocks. Thank you to these memes for allowing bloggers to share their story.
Our World Tuesday
Sweet Shot Tuesday
ABC Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday with Words
Nature Notes Wednesday
Outdoors Wednesday

edit note:  I sometimes have to republish after I see how many errors I made or links not working.   I don't have a lot of time during the summer so my text goes rapidly downhill.


Jim said...

magnificent creatures. Beautiful shots of the lighthouse.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Unknown said...

Oh, I do love a good lighthouse and a bit of history on the side. I have no idea why, but just love lighthouses! Thanks for sharing this info and for updating your SST link. ;) Beautiful Sea lion images. Especially love the top solo sunbather. Thanks!

Esther Garvi said...

What beautiful creatures!!!

Indrani said...

They are so well camouflaged in the surroundings, cute creatures.

Gary said...

What a great post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Stewart M said...

Hi there - great post. I have been to a couple of places with seal (or sea lions) over the last year and they are very smelly!

I think looking at them this way is a bit less of an olfactory challenge!

Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

Linda Kittmer said...

Beautiful shots! I love Vancouver Island!!! I'm from Ontario but love to visit BC and especially the island!

heyBJK said...

Wow, what awesome shots! I am so jealous! How cool to have subjects like this to photograph. Not something you see every day. Gorgeous photos!

Sylvia K said...

I LOVE the Sea Lions and what terrific captures!! Thanks so much for sharing these! The little ones are so adorable! Hope your week is going well!


msdewberry said...

Race Rocks always remind me of my Father, and those many trips we took to fish in his boat by the rocks. The only one who ever seemed to be able to catch any fish was my Mom, and I think it might of been just more luck than anything. My Dad always said that when he passed away, he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes spread around Race Rocks so he could go down in the water and see where all those damn fish were hiding!

Susan said...

Oh my...they are so beautiful. Great pictures♥

Black Jack's Carol said...

I really LOVE all your photos but the first one is my absolute favourite. So proud at the top of his/her world! (Not sure about the paint program. Still learning and not ready to express an opinion.)

Tammy said...

Those are great photos of the Sea lions! Something I definitely do not see around here; well unless we are visiting Seaworld, haha. The lighthouse photos are incredible; they look like postcards!

Roger Owen Green said...

a REGAL creature

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Rambling Woods said...

Another species in trouble? It is so sad as they are amazing creatures.. I liked all the photos as they show how stunning that area is..beautiful.. Thank you for the good wishes on my blog..I appreciate it...Michelle

chubskulit said...

Such beautiful creatures!

R is for RED, come and see.
Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

jeannette said...

Your pics came out GREAT, even though you were in a little boat! I have never been able to get so close to the sea lions!

Nature Rambles said...

Wonderful shots of the sea lions. And I love the lighthouse views. So good to see views that are so different from ours.

Libby said...

Over from Nature Notes...

All I can say is "Wow!" I wish I had something that spectacular to share!!!

And, they are really good shots ESPECIALLY since you took them from a distance from a bobbing boat!

Great job!

Gattina said...

Very interesting post. These sea lions are so impressive, but also have such a funny face that they made me laugh !
ABC Team

Giancarlo said...

Fotgrafie stupende!! buona giornata...ciao

Pamela Gordon said...

I haven't visited you in a while as I was away then trying to get caught up. These photos are wonderful! Very interesting about the sea lions and the history of the island. Pamela

eileeninmd said...

Wow, very cool shots of the sea lions. I would love to visit this place and to see the lighthouse. Wonderful photos and nature post.

Susan said...

I saw seals at a bay in Monterrey, California and boy oh boy did they stink. Cute but they smell. Your photos are awesome!

...melody... said...

Beautiful! Love the sea lions and the light house! :)

Ann said...

They are posing like Royalty on their rocks. Regal creatures.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

They're some big fellas! Must google Steller - he also has some birds named after him, whoever he was. Granite from Scotland! That's crazy!

Madge Bloom said...

Aren't we lucky to have such accommodating husbands when it comes to our photography!? Love your shots...Sorry I been so quiet these last couple weeks, I’ve been really ill (now finally diagnosed with Whooping Cough even though I was immunized) and have had another very rough week.

Pat Tillett said...

Great photos and interesting information. My favorite kind of posts!