Seal Bay is home to the third largest population of Australian sea lions in Australia. Yes, it’s called seal bay but is home to sea lions… makes sense I know.
Sea lions were hunted by colonial Europeans and continually up until 1945. The land became protected in 1954.
Sea lions are different than seals in that their back feet point more forward and they are really walking on all fours, unlike seals who drag themselves along with their front flippers. The difference is well illustrated by the sea lion skeleton below.
The sea lions travel up onto the dunes when it is too cold down on the beach or to have their babies. All of the paths of sand seen below were created by sea lions.
The day we were there was quite windy, so quite a few sea lions were up on the dunes, and some were even hiding underneath the boardwalk.
Up in the dune area, there was also the complete skeleton of a humpback whale who had been beached here in 1984.
On our tour, we got to actually go down on the beach with the sea lions. They were right there!
They make tracks like sea turtles as they go up into the sand dunes.
Sea lions are just as comfortable on land as in the water and have a 3 days hunting out at sea, 3 days resting on land eating pattern. The colony is not in any way synced and each sea lion goes out to sea on its own schedule. It was really awesome to see the sea lions lumber down to the edge of the water and then suddenly turn super agile and nimble as they began to swim out to sea.
There was another lookout further down the beach that overlooked the sea lions. While it wasn’t on the sand with them, it was still as close as can be as they waddled past.
From here we saw a mother coaxing her baby out to sea. The pups and mums communicate to each other with almost howling cries.
There was also another small pup that was calling out for its mum, but none of the sea lions it wandered up to and called to were taking it in. It was most likely that its mum was out at sea, but who knew if she would be back in a few hours or three days–kind of heartbreaking.
Another jaw-dropping beach on Kangaroo Island. Plus sea lions! What could be better?!