Benjamin Island

"Big Yawn" - or maybe this big guy didn't like having his picture taken

Last Saturday morning, I thought I would be paying a very early visit to the upper portions of the Mendenhall Glacier. Instead, I joined my friends Corey and Brigitte for a paddle out to Benjamin Island. The draw? A raft of about a hundred sea lions hauls out on the rocks on the west side of the island. The number of animals made for an impressive spectacle considering most of them weigh about three to fifteen times as much as I do. The sounds and smells just add to the experience. After performing a “hauling out” of our own (with the kayaks) on one of Benjamin Islands small rocky beaches, we hiked through the forest to cliffs that overlook the rocks were the sea lions pile on top of each other and jockey for prized positions. Having a maximum focal length of 200mm, I wanted to get closer, but the gigantic animals are not keen on being approached. I tested their patience once, but backed away quickly as soon as I noticed their discomfort. As a result of the working distance and limited tools, it took some extensive cropping to achieve the results I had envisioned. If I have a new long lens by next May, another visit could be in order.

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