When we last left off we were headed from Blue Mouse cove to North Sandy Bay. The background is that Sandy Bay is a good anchorage that is a moderately sized. It is about 300 Feet deep in the middle with an island for protection and two small places that are shallow enough to anchor. We picked a spot next to the island and the small channel
out to the larger bay which provided us a nice way to oversee the activities.
And there were activities. The stellar sea lions started the march. They hunted like pack animals and swam in a frenzy towards their prey.
They were in packs of a dozen or two and they overtook each other is a crowd getting a new leader with each turn over. Then just slightly following the sea lions came the humpback whales in groups of three to eight following closely behind them.
It looked like they were fighting each other for the food source.
We launched the dinghy and sat at the beach for an hour watching this scene play out over and over again. First the sea lions, then the whales and then the sea birds swooping in for clean up. This was all in the space of a cove that was no more than a half mile wide. We were anchored and still so the sound of these things happening were just incredible.
Here, the sea lions doubled back on the whales, which apparently pissed them off and they slapped on the water to express their displeasure.
All of this happened as the eagles watched in the ready to opportunistically swoop in for a tid bit.
This was not a show that we happened upon. This went on all night and into the next day. We were the only boat in the cove until the next morning and it was non-stop. We sat in wonder as the whales and the sea lions played their parts in this show.
It was just amazing.
The next morning the drama continued but we decided to go to the beach and have a walk about. We spotted a black bear out foraging for food at the water's edge so we approached him to greet him a good morning. The bear seemed to not be concerned with our approach at all and he just continued looking for food as if we were not there at all.
Another amazing sight.
We were in Sandy cove for just one day and one night but I managed to take over 500 pictures. I was so disappointed in my ability to capture the action and communicate it in a way that could tell the story, I decided to take some video. Here is a set of clips I put together to try to show the action of the scene. Please turn up your sound as you play it so you can hear the power of the whales as they feed. At times they made grunting and burping sounds in their spouting and sounded more like elephants than whales.
We were out on the dinghy for a tour the first afternoon and a whale breached from the middle of the cove. It was so startling to us as we were about 100 yards away but the whale came completely out of the water and crashed down into the bay. The resulting splash was so great it just left us in awe of the size, weight and power of the creature. I am so sorry I did not get that on camera but the experience was stunning and only happened once.
The day in Sandy Cove was so memorable and amazing.
Later in the trip when we stopped into the visitors center in Bartlett cove, the ranger explained that the whales and the sea lions really did not compete for food. The whales can only eat smaller fish. They have a baleen (like a brush) that they use to strain the food from the water but they can only eat small fish and krill as they throats are only the size of a grapefruit. The sea lions have teeth and they like to get the big fish. They are likely going after the same species of fish, most likely herring, but the whales are happy to leave the big ones to the sea lions.
Blue Mouse Cove to North Sandy Bay
Time: 2 h 41 m ( 11:29 to 14:10 ) Distance: 16.94 nm
Fuel: 3.02 Gallons Fuel Rate: 1.12 GPH Fuel Economy: 5.61 NM/G
Avg Speed: 5.95 kn Max Speed: 8.13 kn
Engine Runtime Start: 2759.85 Hours Runtime End: 2762.55 Hours Fuel: 3.02 Gallons Fuel Rate: 1.12 GPH Fuel Rate Max: 3.17 GPH Avg RPM: 1109.07 Max RPM: 1303.50 Avg Oil Pressure: 50.53 Low Oil Pressure: 31.91 Avg Temperature: 176.80 Max Temperature: 192.20