Before i tell you my story , about the encounter with one of these marvelous creatures, i want to write a few things about them. In the 1700’s, they were basically hunted to almost extinction along the coast. The first Europeans , arriving here, noticed very quickly what an incredible fur they have, the king of England wanted a coat made of the fur, so did every one else, they are so easy to hunt, they just lie there, in the water, looking at you, total trust, not realizing how dangerous we are. The fur trade was established very quickly, the Europeans paid the first nation well for the pelts. Between 1969 and 1972, 89 sea otters were relocated from Alaska to Checleset Bay Ecological Reserve. They did and do very well, the last count for the coast was 2700 otters, a great success story.
Their fur is incredible, they have a top coat and a very dense underfur which consists of over 100.000 hairs per square centimetre, which they continually groom and aerate to keep it clean and dry. Because of the fur market the sea otter totally vanished from Canada , but now, every where you go and sail by, there they are, out in the middle of the ocean, usually where it is around 30 to 40 metres deep, floating among the kelp, they wrap themselves in the kelp, sleep there at night, and never go ashore. Their babies lie on the moms belly, or hold on to her fur on her back, when she dives down for urchins or crabs. I saw one mom with a tiny little one, barely 10 ” long, all black, she would groom it, then move it to her back and dive down for a minute or so.
Recent counts along the B.C. shore with bots and plains recorded well over 3.200 sea otters, a great comeback!!!! 2700 were counted on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
We left Walters Cove on the 12th, and headed to Dixie Cove Provincial Park.