I thought that the trip to Avalon was fun, but it was nothing compared to the next trip we took (which in turn paled in comparison to the next boat trip-but more on that next post). On this trip we took a tourboat called the Garibaldi down the coast to a camp for kids in order to look at their marine mammal bone collection. On the way down we observed marine birds and mammals.
We saw a lot of birds, but photography conditions weren’t great. Still, I did catch this bird (Cormorant, I think) trying to take off. When they are full and waterlogged, it takes some work for them to get into the air.
We saw a few birds here and there until we started getting towards the other end of the island. Then we saw a big flock off in the distance and went over to investigate. There were thousands of birds over this one patch of water, pursuing fish that had been stirred up by dolphins. Dolphins! A big group of several hundred (although at any given time you could only see 20 or so clearly-the rest were far away or underwater). Some came up and rode the wake and bow of our boat. I also tried out the video option of my camera for the first time. I got some cool video, but am having a very hard time getting it onto the internet. WordPress does not take video directly, and youtube can’t process my .mov files for some reason. I will keep working on it.
Anyway, those are the dolphins. Soon after seeing them we spotted the odd and charming Mola Mola. These fish are big, flat, and have no tail. This one was sitting at the surface waving his top fin at us, a pretty typical behavior.
Again, I have some good video, which I can’t get to show up. This sighting got us talking about how cool mola molas are, and since we had been talking about polar bears, I came up with the Mola Bear! A comical creature shaped like a mola mola, but covered in white fur, with a bear face and two bear arms coming off where the fins are. You may be seeing a picture in the future.
After the Mola mola we ran into a pod of bottlenose dolphins. They stayed further away from our ship, but did some nice jumps.
We also saw a number of sea lions, both hauled out on a beach and in the water. The first picture is of sea lions “jug-handling” or sticking their flippers out of the water to heat up in the sun. The second picture is of a small colony we passed on shore. The big dark colored ones are male, the light brown ones are female, and the little ones are juveniles.