Sunshine and Sea Otters

It’s amazing how beautiful everything looks and feels when the sun appears after several days of rain and fog. This morning we are blessed with a shining dawn. These towering cumulous are a welcome sight against the azure sky.

Birds are singing, and even our resident sea otter is back in the cove foraging breakfast. I think there are a pair living here in the shallow kelp forest. A member of the weasel family, they are adept at using tools, and a joy to watch. They protect our kelp forests by preying on the urchins, crabs, mussels, and other marine species that would consume them.

Ever wanted to see beneath the waves like a sea otter? Jon Gross and Keith Clements are underwater photographers and scuba divers who have amassed a dazzling array of photographs and movies.

Enhydra lutris kenyoni, the Northern Sea Otter, was abundant along the Pacific Coast, until hunted and traded to near extinction in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Their dense luxurious coats were coveted by both First Peoples and Europeans, and drew both the Spanish and the English to this coast. Hunting sea otters is a Nuu-chah-nulth tradition. 

According to Native Legal Update, in 2009, the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation reached a tentative agreement with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to reinstate their sea otter hunt at a rate of 1% or 20 per year. I cannot find any further information on this controversy, and wonder if final approval was ever reached. I understand the importance of culture, but can only hope that the sea otters at Nootka Lightstation remain safe. 

photo courtesy of


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