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Diving with sea lions.

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Eric Sedletzky, Feb 20, 2020.

  1. Landau

    Landau Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver
    One of the museums on Vancouver Island has a Grizzly bear skull next to a Stellar sea lion skull. They are pretty much identical except the sea lion has slightly bigger teeth.

    That said they are super fun to dive with. I have more fun with them when I don’t bring my camera. Last time I was swimming around in small circles as fast as I could and had 5 on my tail. I got tired well before they did. Sucked down way more air than usual but the dive was shallow and so worth it
    drrich2 likes this.
  2. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    Just to make it clear, you don’t have to go to Canada to dive with sea lions, California has plenty too and the water is quite a bit warmer in the southern part.
    Bob DBF likes this.
  3. Cali_diver

    Cali_diver ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: California
    I love sea lions... but you do need to pay attention. The males will bite but they will almost always give you warnings. Blowing bubbles etc. I have been fortunate to dive with them many times and they always amaze me with their athleticism. My most memorable experience happened when my buddy and I were watching two females playing with each other in the Sea of Cortez. It was back in a shallow rocky area and they were having so much fun. Suddenly a huge male jumped in right between my buddy and I (we were only a couple feet apart), we both freaked out fled in opposite directions. When we met back up on the outside of the little bay we both a huge laugh over it but it scared the you know what out of us!
    drrich2 and Esprise Me like this.
  4. Esprise Me

    Esprise Me Kelp forest dweller ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    Good to know. But I wonder how they interpret our bubbles?
    Yeah, I've seen a few around the oil rigs and Channel Islands, but the idea of being surrounded by them is quite appealing. Actually the most I've seen at once was in Cabo.
  5. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    Hornby Island (or similar) is a must for any cold water diver.

    I had about 4 dives off Norris Rock where the Steller sea lions reside in winter. Mind you, it is the juveniles who come to play (they jump off the rock as soon as they see a dive boat). This year, some friends were up there and the sea lions were more "cuddly" than in the past (as they go every year).

    You just have to stay away from the rock itself so that the bull doesn't perceive you as a threat. Other than that, have fun. And yes, the bulls are huge. One swam over one of the divers in my group, and the sun basically went away. They are huge.

    The juveniles are really playful puppies. Though it did hurt a bit when they chewed on my head.
    VE7DAC, drrich2 and eleniel like this.
  6. Caveeagle

    Caveeagle Rebreather Pilot

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: High Springs, FL
    I was on a dive near SoCal back in the late 90s. I think it was Santa Barbara Island(?).. I had two sea lions show up and were swimming around me. The larger of the two came up close and blew bubbles at me several times. Perhaps I misinterpreted this as just being playful. Perhaps this was a bad/risky move on my part, but I waited for the next bubble blast, and then used my backup 2nd stage to purge a little bubble cloud of my one. The large lion seemed to depart the scene, and the little one hung around for a few more minutes.

    I learned afterwards that the bubble blowing might be a threat, or aggression, and can precede a bite. Please don’t take my actions as any sort of “best practice”. ...only just one experience from one potentially lucky diver.
    Esprise Me likes this.
  7. 12th Man

    12th Man Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: J&D Ranch North Central Texas
    Well shucks I want to dive with sea lions, we don't have those in the great state of Texas!

    All kidding aside, I've seen them many times while on the dive boat in Hawaii heading out to the dive sites. Just once I wish they'd follow us and join us on our dives!
  8. Schwob

    Schwob Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Illinois
    Oh thanks @lexvil !
    Scores of divers now will never stop looking over their shoulders during their coral reef dives, trying to make sure that whatever chased the sea lions away isn’t out to get them... :D
    lexvil likes this.
  9. lexvil

    lexvil Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: jamestown, ca.
    Someone posted, I think on Monterey dives open FB page a short video from a GoPro that he staked out right at the spot where we normally get swarmed with sea lions, on the wall. Sea lions passing by and then nothing, next you see the landlord swim through the frame. They are out there but fortunately they see us long before we see them.
  10. Scuba Lawyer

    Scuba Lawyer Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Laguna Beach, California
    In 2016 we were geared up and ready to back-roll off our 19' RHIB offshore of Corona Del Mar (Newport Beach, CA). Just then a juvenile female sea lion lept out of the water and onto the pontoon next to me. Her shoulder was touching my shoulder but she paid me no attention, just kept looking over the side into the water. We took the hint and held off getting in. We heard on the news later that day that a woman swimming was bit by a shark two coves down from us. That sea lion stayed onboard with us until we were well back into Newport Harbor. Sometimes you just have to listen to what nature is trying to tell you. :)
    woodcarver, Bob DBF, drrich2 and 5 others like this.

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