Being not as popular and well known as whales, in Mazatlan during the winter time you can enjoy the visit of the California Sea Lions to town.

Want to watch the sea lions?

A rocky micro-island located 1/2 mile from Mazatlan named Isla Tortuga or Roca Tortuga(Turtle Island or Turtle Rock) is the winter house of these beautiful and friendly sea inhabitants, they can not be found anywhere else in Mazatlan. This island located 106°26'20' W'and 23°11'05'N', among other ones in the area (Mazatlan Islands), was declared an ecological reserve and refuge of marine migratory bird, flora and sylvan fauna by a federal decree in 1991.
According to the 1991 decree is strictly forbidden at all time to hunt, capture, chase, molest or According to the in any ways the birds and other animals that inhabit temporary or permanently Mazatlan islands. It is also expressly forbidden the destruction or modification of the local flora. It is not allowed any kind of construction for any purpose.

These coastal mammals, known as Zahphus californianus or california sea lions, are locally abundant along the coasts of California and Baja California, but can be found as far south as Mazatlan along the western coast of Mexico, and as far north as the coasts of British Columbia.
Typical colouring ranges from tan to chocolate brown and may appear black when wet. The head has a pointed muzzle and the profile resembles that of a dog. The hair is short; the flippers are long and leathery with nails. An adult male is larger weighing about 800 pounds with a sagittal crest or bump on the top of the head; the female who is considerably smaller, averages 250 pounds. The top of a male's head often gets lighter with age. These members of the otariid or walking seal family have external ear flaps and large flippers that they use to "walk" on land. The trained "seals" in zoos and aquariums are usually California sea lions.
This playful, noisy, exuberant, quick learner is the "trained seal" of the circus. It is highly adaptable to any surrounding and use a variety of habitats. When resting on rocks or beaches they point their noses skyward and may be seen laying atop one another. When at sea they raft together, playing and leaping clear of the surface. Their long fore flippers enable them to make powerful strokes while swimming and they may reach speeds of 25 mph. They are very vocal and bark like dogs; the pups have a bleatlike call. The California Sea Lion prey on schooling fish, rockfish, squid, flatfish, hake, lamprey, dogfish and salmon. This healthy population continues to flourish despite ongoing conflicts with commercial and sport fisheries.

California sea lions are very social animals, and groups often rest closely packed together at favored haul-out sites on land, or float together on the ocean's surface in "rafts." They are sometimes seen porpoising, or jumping out of the water, presumably to speed up their swimming. Sea lions have also been seen "surfing" breaking waves. California sea lions are opportunistic eaters, feeding on squid, octopus, herring, rockfish, mackerel, and small sharks. In turn, sea lions are preyed upon by Orcas (killer whales) and great white sharks.

-Compilation by Thomas Romero -