We are fortunate that we can count on seeing harbour seals in Kwilákm and along the other shores of Bowen Island just about any time of year. If you are a paddler or swimmer, or even just walking along the shore, you will know that these sea dogs are a curious bunch, often approaching to see what we are doing.
Harbour seals are distinctive with half-submerged rounded heads and large dark eyes, and their habit of slipping away underwater nose-last.
During the summer, you may see them hauled out at low tide on a rocky reef just offshore of the large dock at the Bowen Lodge on the south side of Kwilákm.
During salmon runs, seals will congregate near the Causeway, trying to intercept returning salmon.
In January 2019, a large number of adult seals spent a week hunting anchovy in Kwilákm, and young seals were left nearby in a nursery in the shallows by the Causeway.
Harbour seals also congregate in nearby Snug Cove. They use a favorite haul-out rock below the cliffs near the navigation light at the east end of Dorman Point. At times, the Union Steamship Marina has had its own resident seal. One year, a female seal birthed a seal pub on one of the floats in the marina.
Seal coats are remarkably variable in colour and pattern. The background colour can range from cream to grey to black with either dark or light-coloured spots. Adult seals can weigh up to 70 kg, stretch 1.5 m in length, and live 20 to 30 years. They are opportunistic feeders with a varied diet that includes crabs, herring, anchovy, and other fish.
Check out these video links: