Most of the seals and sea lions in our region, live here year-round. Links are provided to Fact Sheets for additional species information. Sightings, of course, vary from trip to trip, as well as through the seasons. If you want to see all the species possible in this area, you should consider joining us on several expeditions, at different times of the year.
For more information, see the Harbor Seal Fact Sheet from the Society of Marine Mammalogy.
For more information, see the Northern Elephant Seal Fact Sheet from the Society for Marine Mammalogy.
California sea lions are the most commonly sighted sea lion on our trip. Sea lions are members of a group called the eared seals because they have external ear flaps, unlike other seals that just have a hole. Sea Lions also have articulated flippers allowing them to ‘walk’ on land using their front and rear flippers. A group of California sea lions have made their home right in our backyard at Pier 39. Floating docks have been set aside just for these sea lions.
For more information, see the California Sea Lion Fact Sheet from the National Marine Fisheries Service and NOAA.
In the California current, Steller sea lions are considered threatened. Globally however, this is an endangered species. They are the largest of the eared seals. Males can weigh over 2,500 lbs and are 2-3 times the size of females. Most of our sightings of Steller sea lions come from the Farallon Islands, where researchers have linked their decline to the San Miguel virus and elevated levels of toxic PCBs.
For more information, see the Steller Sea Lion Fact Sheet from the National Marine Fisheries Service.