Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Time For Elephant Seal Watching!

As the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday approaches, once again I remind you of a fantastic opportunity for families to observe the burgeoning Elephant Seal colony up on the Central Coast.
Right now is Prime Time - when tens of thousand of Northern Elephant Seals are on the beaches just north of Hearst Castle on California Highway 1 - about 50 miles north of San Luis Obispo.  The first pup was born the middle of December and has been nursed by his mother for a month.  By this time she will have gone into estrus and is ready to mate.  Of course, there are plenty of huge males ready to accommodate her and her peers on the beach.

If you stand for just a few minutes on the boardwalks that overlook the beach just below the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse you very likely will see pups being born - the birthing takes place from the middle of December into early March, but now is the best time.  You will also see big guys fighting over mating rights and, once successful, mating with the ladies.

There is no better place in the world to observe these magnificent critters - once hunted almost to extinction.  This colony - one of a dozen similar colonies that inhabit the coast and islands off the coast of southern and central California -  is now well over 18,000 animals.  5,000 pups were born in the colony last year.
And, this time of the year you'll also see whales migrating, Harbor Seals on the rocks nearby, otters in the kelp beds and maybe even pods of killer whales patroling the area.  It's a great time of the year on the Central Coast.
So, jump in the car and make a long-weekend of it.  Stay in Cambria, San Simeon, Cayucos or Morro Bay.  Spend time on the bluff watching these critters.  Guides wearing blue wind breakers are available to enhance your visit by sharing information about the animals and the colony.
Visit Hearst Castle.  Enjoy the wine country between Highway 1 and Paso Robles.  Enjoy one of the most beautiful stretches of California coastline.
For a sneak peek visit the web cam which overlooks the beach, HERE.  Enjoy...

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Anonymous Terry Koken said...

Saw 'em end of December, Geoff -- WELL worth a trip to watch for a while. They don't need much in the way of protection -- 'way too big to be pestered by the likes of us at 5000 pounds. Deb and I get a charge out of watching them.

1/14/2015 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Honeyman said...

Don't forget the Olallieberry Pie!

1/14/2015 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Steve Smith said...

My wife and I were just there two weeks ago. We found another spot about a mile or so north that had a huge highway turnout for the car, seals on the beach, and no crowds. Stayed at Moonstone Beach and ate dinner in town at Robin's, which I highly recommend.

1/14/2015 03:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Teresa Drain said...

Don't forget to take Susie to the Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos! There are several flavors that they won't ship, so you have to go there or their store in Paso Robles to enjoy them! Yummy...

1/14/2015 05:48:00 PM  
Anonymous now is the time said...

Sounds like the perfect destination for a trip with the grandbabies!! They love dolphins and whales so these guys will be a great addition to their repertoire of sea animals :)

Hope you can enjoy the peace and quiet of your surroundings.

1/14/2015 07:06:00 PM  

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