Hundreds of sea lions take over docks of Cowichan Bay


A raucous crowd has moved into Cowichan Bay and the volume and odour coming from them is wafting for blocks around.
Locals estimate over 300 sea lions have descended on the Cowichan community and their presence is proving a huge tourist draw.

This is a typically quiet time in Cowichan Bay, but clearly no one has told the sea lions.

A colony’s arrival, in numbers locals estimate at over 300 is waking up tourism in this sleepy sea side town and bringing in business at a wild rate.

“I just love it,” said tourist Alice Marriott. “I just love wild life,” she said taking pictures of the mammals Tuesday.

“For this time of year usually it’s our shoulder season,” said Cow Cafe’sMatt Heyne.

“And this year it seems we’re just floating through it,” said Heyne.

“There’s no such thing this year, is there,” said Cow Cafe’s Leah Davidson.

Locals say the sea lions arrived three weeks ago, and have been feasting on the waves of salmon returning to the area to spawn. Then they lay out engorged on the Fishermen’s Wharf’s docks, physically dripping from every surface they can find.

But there is an obvious downside too.

“They are pretty loud and you can actually smell them right here,” said Simon Pidcock of Ocean Ecoventures Whale Watching.

“It is not pleasant,” said Pidcock.

“Yeah if you had smell-o-vision then you’d be turning off your TV’s,” said Justin Hart, who keeps his sail boat at Cowichan Bay.

Hart is not a fan of the sea lions. The boat owner says they keep commandeering his boat and make really bad houseguests

“It’s the worst,” said Hart.

“They smell vile and they literally just poop all over the deck,” he said.

But it is the noise of all these sea lions that’s keeping people awake at night.
So the Oceanfront Suites hotel at Cowichan Bay is actually handing out earplugs.

“We provide ear plugs to our guests,” said Oceanfront Suites’ Rob Green.

“Just in case you’re not a heavy sleeper and get woken up,” said Green.

After all Cowichan Bay knows these visitors too will move, once the salmon run ends.
Though with another month of that to come, they’ll be needing a whole lot more earplugs for this group’s stay.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!