In the water, there is a triangularly shaped large rock with a smaller triangular rock in the water to its right. Atop this smaller rock we hope to find a group of the Steller sea lions. If we do not spot them here, they will be a little further south on the beach. Look for various sizes and colors of animals. Dark grey animals have just left the water, brown or tan animals have been out a while and are dryer. Fully grown males have a very thick enlarged neck area. Females are about half the size of big males but there are also many juvenile males on these rocks. This is an area known as a "haul-out." The animals here are just drying off--this is not a rookery where they breed. The Steller sea lion has declined drastically from Prince William Sound Westward out the Aleutian Chain. We have lost 80% of the population in the last 30 years.
In 1997 this western stock of Steller sea lions was placed on the endangered species list. You may see tagged or branded animals at this haul out. These markings are put in place as methods to monitor the changing populations of sea lions.
The big rock, now behind the Stellers has Glaucous -winged gulls nesting on the horizontal surfaces and Black-legged Kittiwakes nesting on the vertical surfaces.
(Photos: Kenai Fjords Tours)