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post #513
bio: jen

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Elephant Seals

After holidaying with the family in Northern Cali, I decided to breakup my drive back to Southern Cali with a stop on the coast.

It turned to be elephant seal mating season at Ano Nuevo State Park. Since I had never seen an elephant seal, I decided to check it out.

In order to protect the elephant seals from the tourists (and vice versa), one had to sign up for a guided elephant seal tour easily accomplished with some pointing and clicking on the website.

Once I got to the park and forked over the parking fee, I got my tour ticket and went to the staging area where our mighty tour group met our docent tour guide. We were told that we had just missed a birth and some males fighting. However, we could hear the elephant seals’ call. It sounded like a motor boat choking.

As we crossed into the land of the elephant seal, we passed the requisite warning sign and proceeded out to the dunes. I soon realized those black rocks were four thousand pounds of marine mammal. 

Elephant Seal SignElephant Seal7 

They just lay there, and occasionally they flicked sand onto themselves. Sometimes they raised their heads and clucked. 

Elephant Seal4Elephant Seal5 

So our tour group did not see Elephant Seal Action!!! We saw the more reflective, contemplative elephant seal. 

Elephant Seal3Elephant Seals 

In fact, the elephant seal looked like I felt after two days of intense Christmas eating (turkey, ham, turnips, potatoes, cookies, cookies, cookies, it had to be done). Still I didn’t feel the need to curl up with the elephant seals in their sandy domesticity. Every time they moved, the earth seemed to shake. They were big and wild. 

By the way, every year, they come to Ano Nuevo to mate on land. The rest of the time, they swim in the ocean. The males go up to Alaska. The females go to Hawaii. They usually are solo creatures, but when they come together, it's a elephant seal party.  

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