People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Sea lions in Cowichan Bay. (Cheryl Trudell photo)
Sea lions in Cowichan Bay. (Cheryl Trudell photo)
Sea lions in Cowichan Bay. (Cheryl Trudell photo)
Sea lions in Cowichan Bay. (Cheryl Trudell photo)
Sea lions in Cowichan Bay. (Cheryl Trudell photo)

Hundreds of sea lions have come to Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island for their annual fall salmon feast.

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over the floating breakwater near the government dock, according to the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre.

The sea lions are there to pig out on coho salmon, which are waiting in the bay this time of year before heading up the Cowichan and Koksilah rivers to spawn. A big sea lion can eat as much as 16 kilograms (35 pounds) of fish each day, the Nature Centre says. The Steller sea lions are the bigger variety, getting up to one tonne in weight.

It’s usually only the male sea lions that come to the bay, and they arrive sometime in October and stay until between Christmas and New Year’s, filling the air with their barking and roars.