Three sea lions sleeping on a floating navigational buoy

In Dreamland, on a waterbed (click on photos to enlarge)

Even sea lions need their beauty sleep. And since they’re a favourite meal for killer whales, they need to be careful about where they haul out for a snooze.

So it wasn’t a surprise last summer to see three large sea lions catching some z’s on East Cardinal Buoy PB, off Cape Lazo – the extremely shallow depth at that spot likely keeps killer whales at a safe distance. (More on this buoy, below.) 

Despite the constant rocking and din of boat motors passing by, PB seems like a decent enough bed. It’s well situated for safety, and it even sports handy posts to keep sleepers from falling overboard.

Still, it doesn’t look exactly comfortable, especially for the lion on the left. My neck aches in sympathy!

East cardinal buoy PB with sleeping sea lions aboard

This important navigational aid is one of several that mark safe passage for mariners crossing the treacherously shallow “Comox Bar” between Denman Island and Cape Lazo, to enter or exit the Strait of Georgia.

PB is an “east cardinal buoy”, indicating that safe passage lies to the east of the marker. Cardinal buoys are yellow and black, with conical top marks configured in one of four specific ways, depending on whether safe passage lies to the north, south, east or west.

At night, mariners must determine the direction of safe passage by the speed/duration of the buoy’s flashing light, since the top marks aren’t visible.

About Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment

Focused on nature and the BC coast

3 responses »

  1. […] Snoozing in Safety – a nice warm spot appears to be the perfect spot for a lovely afternoon nap for this collection of sea lions captured on the west coast of Canada by Laurie MacBride. These large animals are a dietary staple for Orca whales and as such, they tend to find what they consider to be safe perches for rest, even though several of these sea lions look rather uncomfortable in their chosen havens. […]

  2. Fred Bailey says:

    Laurie:
    Our favourite buoy. Mustard yellow to go with the sausages! Fred

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