Driving Up the Coast – HWY 101 – part 2 – Sea Lion Caves

When I began this story I planned to take you up the coast with some general information, hoping to tempt you to want to come to see more. But as I began to research pictures and information, I became mesmerized by all the wonderful things I encountered and decided to slow it down quite a bit and write short posts about things that can be seen and things that can be experienced while driving and visiting the Southern Oregon Coast.

Sea Lions

Baby

Sea lions pups are about four feet long at birth and weigh from 40 to 50 pounds. They are slate gray in color for about six months, turn dark brown until approximately two years of age, and they begin to assume the lighter tan color of the adult. They remain with their mothers well over a year and grow rapidly, averaging about six feet long at the end of their first year. The pups continue to grow, perhaps all of their lives, but the growth rate decreases each year.

When you see those innocent eyes you wonder how anyone could possible want to harm them. But there is a war that is raging between the fisherman and the sea lions. Recent scientific studies indicate that fish such as salmon constitute a very minute part of the sea lion diet. Although sea lions are good swimmers, they find it much easier to capture more sluggish victims than game fish. but they have learned to adapt to some very clever ways of stealing fish from game fisherman and this is the cause of all the upheaval.

Sitting on the dock of a bay…
Dock

Sea lions just love the Oregon coast, and they are very plentiful in the local harbors of Coos Bay and all along the Oregon Coast. The pictures of the sea lions below were taken as they were resting on a dock in the harbor. They are a joy to watch, and when they bark you can literally hear them from a mile away because the sound is so very loud.

Coos Bay Sea Lion Caves

Caves1

Located just minutes from town is the magnificent Sea Lion Caves. Herds of wild, golden Steller sea lions and their black pups take shelter as the ocean furiously flows in and out of the cave Enormous bulls weighing up to 2000 pounds have been seen in the summer joining the herd on rock ledges just outside the cave. Sea Lion Caves is commonly know as 'the treasure of the Oregon Coast'.
Caves2
The cavern formed about 25 million years ago and now is the height of a 12- story building and stretches the length of a football field. Environmental laws help to protect the natural habitat of the wild animals that dwell here. Sea lions gather in this natural habitat in the fall and winter. They breed and have their young on rock ledges just outside the cave in the spring and summer.

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