They throw sand on themselves to protect from the When the weaned pups are four to six weeks old, their original coat of black fur molts and is replaced by a shiny new silver coat. Soon afterward, they begin learning to swim in the shallow offshore waters or ponds formed by rainwater. They are very curious and rather awkward and somewhat afraid of the water at first. But they learn quickly, spend more and more time swimming about, and then, during the last three weeks of April, they go to sea one by one and disperse northwestward. They feed off the coast of northern Washington and Vancouver Island in British Columbia and do not appear on land again until September.