One reason for visiting the Central California coast is to see the elephant seals. Though living most of their lives in the ocean, these massive mammals come to the Piedras Blancas Rookery to mate and breed. A bit north of San Simeon there is a huge viewing area with almost as many people watching as there are elephant seals, of which hundreds were ashore.
We happened to visit at a time when males, females, and pups were present and very numerous (mid-February). It was the first time any of my family had seen elephant seals and, well, they’re pretty odd. The male elephant seals (bulls) have this flubby trunk-like nose and look like slugs when moving around. As for the babies, to say they were chubby, plump, or a bit heavy would be complete understatement – they were so fat!
Aside from basking and napping in the sun, the elephant seals were quite vocal. The females (cows) and babies seemed to be the most noisy though. At first, most of the elephant seals were just lying around. Later on they got more active and I was able to record some of the action:
There was another kind of action going on as well since it was mating season. At one point my daughter felt compelled to exclaim, “Eiuw, are they mating?!” as only an 11-year-old child can. So while we enjoyed being able to watch these fascinating animals, we had our fill of elephant seal nature for this trip.
For more information on the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas, check out ElSeals4me.