Steller Sealion (183R) May Have Lived To See Another Day?

04-May-2020 Shoreline Encounter

T123s Attack Steller Sea Lion from Reuben Tarte County Park

Photos by Katie Jones and Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research


Dave and Katie spent the afternoon at the Reuben Tarte County Park watching the T123s head north in San Juan Channel from shore after Ivan Reiff had found them earlier near Friday Harbor. The whales were just on the San Juan Island side of mid-SJ Channel as they approached the south end of Rocky Bay. At 1353, theT123s found and began attacking a large Steller sea lion. For the next hour and twenty minutes, the whales kept up a continuous attack on the sea lion and they moved slowly closer to the point of land we were all looking from. By 1510, the sea lion, branded “183R”had made it to the mouth of the tiny cove at Reuben Tarte County Park with the whales following close behind. After a couple of minutes milling around practically at our feet, the whales gave upon the attack and headed north and around the corner while the sea lion headed closer to the beach. After the T123s left, the sea lion moved over to the other side of the cove near the bluff and was lying at the surface looking exhausted.


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