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A crisp breeze blows over Garcin Rocks, Haida Gwaii, filling the nostrils of those aboard Maple Leaf with a strong odor. The stench of the Sea Lion rookery accompanies the loud barks and grunts of the beasts that plaster the rock.

Naturalist Jackie Hildering, aka the Marine Detective, spotted a branded Stellar’s Sea Lion on the most recent Haida Gwaii trip aboard Maple Leaf. F1019 was clearly seen across her back. Upon arriving back from the remote corners of Gwaii Haanas, she followed up with the Department of Fish and Game in Alaska, who noted, “It is a very good sighting because she hasn’t been seen since 2012 and she is nursing a pup in your photo.  She was born in 2001 and so is 16 years old this year.  This is her 48th sighting. She gave birth to a dead pup at age 6 at Forrester Islands, her birth rookery.  She had a pup there at age 10 also. At age 11 – she was at Forrester in late May and then seen early June at Ramsay Island – and that was her last sighting.”

Great work Marine Detective!

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F1019 can be seen across the back of the female Stellar’s Sea Lion in the middle of the photo

The guests and crew aboard also shared the waters with a pod of transient killer whales, two minke whales, and three humpbacks.

The Maple Leaf and crew are now in Prince Rupert starting their first trip of the season into SE Alaska. Until next year Haida Gwaii!

Find more information on our Haida Gwaii trips here.