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More Amazing Wildlife

Tuesday 18th August 2015

sunny 19 °C

After another good nights sleep, ablutions, a quick breakfast and tidy up of the cottage, we got on our way back to Seal Bay on the south coast. It was my turn to do some driving today, so Nigel assisted with the navigating and did a bit of back seat driving! The roads were again almost deserted and during the journey of about an hour we probably only saw four of five other vehicles until we got close to Seal Bay where there were a few other visitors including a couple of excursion coaches. Once inside the centre we found out that there were two options, walking on a boardwalk which overlooks some of the dunes, or paying to go with a guide right onto the beach and therefore closer to the sea lions. We decided to go for the more expensive option, but as there was a 45 minute wait before the guided tour we were able to go on the boardwalk while we waited. This gave us a good introduction to the sea lions and there was also a point where a whale carcass was visible lying in the dunes.



Many of the females had young with them and it was very special to be able to see them feeding. With plenty of time to spare we went back to the visitor centre to join the tour.

There were ten of us in total and our guide started off by briefing us on safety, both ours and that of the sea lions. She then gave us lots of information about the difference between the fur seals we had seen yesterday and sea lions. She talked about the breeding cycle, the gestation period (which is 18 months) and how the females come into season within a couple of weeks of giving birth to a pup, so they are almost always pregnant. We walked in a tight group down a separate boardwalk and through a couple of gates onto the beach. We were able to get quite close to the females and juveniles. There was one pup that was smaller than it should be, and therefore at risk of being attacked by some of the more aggressive males.


It would appear that the males do very little if anything in terms of raising the young. Our guide said they joke about them only being interested in the three 'f's, food, fighting and getting the females pregnant. There were some young males doing a bit of posturing but no serious fighting as it wasn't the breeding season. There was plenty of opportunity to take lots of photographs and ask questions and our guide seemed very knowledgable and passionate about the sea lions. After nearly 45 minutes we made our way back up to the visitor centre and Nigel signed the visitor book while I bought a few postcards.

Once we left, we made our way to Kingscote, the largest town on the island. We needed to get some petrol so that we had enough to get us back to Stokes Bay and then to the ferry in the morning. It was also afternoon by the time we got there and we hadn't eaten any lunch and so were quite hungry, so we made a quick visit to the supermarket to get supplies for a picnic. We then drove get short distance to Emu Bay on the north of the island. We first went round to where the jetty is and saw that there were a number of Australian pelicans near a group of people.


Although we had seen them in Adelaide we had not been able to get close to them and it was also good to see them in a more natural environment. We walked over and there was a fisherman talking to some other tourists about fishing and the birds which he then fed with fish scraps. Whilst they were eating we had plenty of opportunity to take photographs of them. Once they had taken to the water again we made our way in the car round to the beach area. The bay is on a beautiful wide stretch of white sand extending almost as far as the eye can see.


We sat on the sand and ate our picnic before going for a walk along the beach. On the way back to Stokes Bay we briefly stopped at some salt lakes that were milky and had wonderful cloud reflections in them.


Once back at Stokes Bay we spent a short time exploring the beach. To get to this you have to walk through a small natural tunnel through the rocks. It was quite narrow but we were able to squeeze through.


The beach which is just below our cottage is lovely but sadly we weren't able to stay long as the tide was coming in which meant there was a chance of us getting cut off if the water got as high as the natural tunnel. Nigel then drove the short distance back up to the cottage and we settled down for a relaxing evening of dinner accompanied by some more of our wine.


Posted by Gill's Travels 05:35 Archived in Australia Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises animals sea sea_lions kangaroo_island

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