Winter’s Chilly Lash

Strong Northeasterly winds have buffeted the island for the last 4 days bringing snow, hail and breaking waves over the jetty. The Steller Sea Lions returned to their perch on the South Rocks last night, perhaps now that the worst of the cold has passed. The Phocids (the family name for seals; in our case Harbour and Elephant) seem pretty much immune to the cold. Phocids are able to divert blood flow to their blubber layer to help control their temperatures.

photos 1,3,4: Helene Cyr

Squall the newborn elephant seal seems to be doing well. His fur is thick, I suppose to make up for his lack of blubber. I refer to it as a male but since true seals have retractable nipples, internal testicles and an internal penis sheath for streamlining it is difficult to determine gender.  He sure is cute though…

Two adult males engaging in vocalization threat displays….. Big Nose wins!