Thursday, December 21, 2006

Elephant Seals

Driving south on Hwy 1 yesterday, I saw something from the corner of my eye. Something huge, lying on the beach. Moving. At 60 miles an hour, I couldn't make out the details. Around the corner a mile down, we see them, hundrends of seals lying in the sand.

Sue, a volunteer with Central Coast Friends of the Elephant Seal gave us a brief lesson in marine biology. The seals first claimed this beach just north of Cambria in 1991. Last year, 3,800 seal pups were born on this 1/4 mile strech of sand, the largest breeding ground on the mainland. The pups weigh about 70 pounds at birth and gain 10 pounds a day for the month that their mothers care for them. It will be another couple months before the pups take to the sea and teach themselves to swim. The males won't develop their "elephant" noses until age 4.

As if standing close enough to observe that seals scratch themselves with their knuckles wasn't enough... Two miles down the road the cattle were grazing along side zebra. Really.

We made it to Camp Ocean Pines, our home for Christmas.


Anonymous said...

WOW!! a 700-lb newborn! Incredible. Thanks for sharing your adventure.
UKIAH--did you have a chance to check your email?
Have a grand day....
Love, Grandma

nora said...

That would be something- but it´s just 70, which is still plenty large. I´m not sure of the weight of full-grown seals but they were HUGE!
Ukiah hasn´t seen his email yet- we don´t have internet at the camp, so after a day of caring for young oaks, we´re in town stealing wifi moments at the library and coffee shop.
more soon. oxo

Rashaan Leex said...

Hey Nora this is Rashaan and i wanted to say i hhave really enjoyed your aventourus travels. It makes my concerns here back in the emerald city so much smaller.

nora said...

Hey Rashaan-nice to know you're sharing the travels!

Taking a break from "regular" life and witnessing all the different paths a person can take has shifted my concerns too... Plenty to think about... (and I'm not just talking about making hotel reservations for Disneyland ;)

peace and love for the new year!