'They're kind of inconsiderate': Hundreds of noisy sea lions have B.C. hotel handing out earplugs
Published Thursday, November 15, 2018 2:11PM PST
Cowichan Bay’s quiet season has turned into anything but.
Hundreds of sea lions have made a home on the town’s commercial fishing docks, creating a distracting din, but attracting a welcome wave of visitors.
"They’re purely here for the food," says Cowichan Bay Harbour Manager Mark Mercer.
"Usually about the middle of October we’ll see a few scouts come in and check out the food supply. They’ll hang out for a while and then shortly after that you’ll see the number increasing every day."
Mercer estimates 300 to 400 of the massive mammals make a regular stop at the breakwater, and predicts that the number of sea lions seeking food in the bay numbers in the thousands.
They’re following the flow of chum salmon from the Cowichan and Koksilah rivers that empty into the bay on their annual spawning run.
The constant barking from the docks means there’s hardly a quiet minute in the small community, and that means some sleepless nights for some guests at the Oceanfront Suites at Cowichan Bay.
“They're kind of inconsiderate toward the hotel's quiet time policy,” quips Rob Green, the hotel’s director of sales.
The hotel offers free ear plugs to guests, but the belching behemoths on the dock attract more visitors then they drive away.
“We have guests now that have been coming back just to see the sea lions.”
Mercer predicts the sea lions will stay for another couple of weeks, or until the salmon run stops.
Nature lovers, photographers and families have ample time to get an up-close view of these marine mammoths. Mercer predicts they will be in the area for another couple of weeks or until the salmon run stops.
Until then, if you don’t like the noise or the smell, Mercer says you don’t have much of a choice.
“Like I tell people. My money's on the guy in the fur coat every time. If he doesn't want to move, he ain't movin'.”