Friday, October 1, 2010

Our Day Trip, Part 2

When we last left our day trip up the central coast, we had just finished a walk on the pier at San Simeon Bay.  Our final stop for the day was just 4 1/2 miles North of this location at the Piedras Blancas elephant seal colony.  We made a trip up here last winter and enjoyed it, so we thought we’d take another look to see how many elephant seals were here this time.  The trip to Piedras Blancas is 60 miles, one-way, from Pismo Beach.  (Click any photo for a larger view.)

                        You can view the seals from above, which leaves you a safe distance from them.DSCF6906

In early fall (like now) the beach is sparsely populated.  During September and October the young-of-the-year and juveniles haul out from the sea to rest and play.  Many of these pups were the ones born here last winter, and others are from 1 to 4 years old.

                                                The seals lie in the sand or play in the surf together.DSCF6907

The young seals that are resting here now are the survivors of the long journey they took to feed on fish and squid while avoiding great white shark and orcas attacks.  The seals don’t live here on this beach, but they return for a few months each winter to give birth and mate again before setting out to sea.  They also return for a few months during the summer to molt and rest.  The adult males will spend 8 months at sea and 4 on land.  Adult females and juveniles spend 10 months at sea and 2 on land.  They are solitary travelers.

                                  These juveniles “play fight” with each other at this time of the year.DSCF6909

DSCF6905

DSCF6919

Since no mating or birthing is going on in this season, the action is calm and quiet.  Except for seeing some of them play-fight, many were just lying on the warm sand or playing in the surf.

                                         No surf boards for these guys….they were just body surfing.DSCF6910

DSCF6912

DSCF6913

I liked this pic, it reminded me of that scene in the movie Gone With The Wind when Scarlett comes out of the makeshift hospital and she sees the hundreds (or thousands) of wounded or dead soldiers lying in the street as far as she could see.

                                            At least all of these “soldiers” are alive!DSCF6914

When we come back to Pismo Beach in the winter, we may come back up to the elephant seal colony again.  By that time the large adult males and the females will be on the beach.  We will also be able to see a lot of the newborn pups.  The peak birthing period is mid-January to the end of the month.  The large adult males will make the 5,000 mile journey to the Aleutian Islands twice a year.  The females and juveniles go North and Northwest but don’t usually travel as far as the oldest adult males. 

                       You can see some high fog along the horizon, but the beach was clear and bright.DSCF6920

It was a nice day trip and the coastal views were excellent and beautiful when we were out of the fog pockets.  Any wildlife viewing is also a plus, as far as we’re concerned.  Annie like seeing the seals, too.  There is a fence along the entire viewing area so children and dogs can’t get out onto the beach area. 

When we had enough time gazing at the large creatures, we got back into the car and drove home.  It was a good day.

Until next time…..so long for now!

12 comments:

Rick and Paulette said...

Thanks for the great pics and story about the elephant seals. I can't believe we were only 4 1/2 miles from there this year and didn't even know about it. We'll definitely be checking it out this January though.

Gypsy said...

I have always loved watching the seals along the CA coast, although I've never been at Pismo Beach. Some of them look like dogs swimming in the water. You got some really nice pictures of them.

Me and My Dog said...

Great photos, I love seals and sea lions. What a nice day!
Barbara

Karen and Al said...

Thanks for the tour and great pictures. I hope to see them some time.

Judy and Emma said...

I imagine the January viewing will be really exciting! I think wildlife viewing is good for the soul. :)

Sam&Donna Weibel said...

Wow for a Midwesterner , seals are truly an awesome sight hope we can get out there and see this spectacle. You guys sure know how to have fun, Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

pidge said...

What a wonderful day you two had. I love viewing wildlife and only my family comes before. Thanks for sharing all the great pictures. Stay safe.

Randy and Pam Warner said...

Those are some great pictures of the beach and seals!

Carol K said...

I enjoyed your pictures and captions about the seals. You got some good shots. What a lot of exciting things there are to do along the Pacific coast!

Happytrails said...

Margie,
Thanks for the pics and information about the seals...it is an incredible sight. To think of so many gathered in one place just sun bathing..Wow.
Glad it was such a great day outing on the beach with such great scenery.
Thanks and take care.
Mike & Gerri

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

FANTASTIC shots of the seals... I can not imagine seeing that many at one time!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

FANTASTIC shots of the seals... I can not imagine seeing that many at one time!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/