Sunday, March 28, 2010

Elephant Seals of Big Sur, California

Last weekend my daughter April and I and my grand-puppy Chorizo took a day trip to the coast, which is about 2 hours from Shafter. I've been to Pismo, Morro Bay, Cambria, Cayucos, Avila Beach, all those little coastal towns a million few times, but I'd never been to Elephant Seal Beach at Piedras Blancas in the southern range of Big Sur, near San Simeon. Count on April to show me something new, she loves to explore and visit new places.

She took me to a wonderful spot on scenic Hwy 1 to Elephant Seal Beach. Why I had never known this place existed is beyond me!

First off, the drive from Morro Bay to Elephant Seal Beach is gorgeous. Hwy 1 is known for it's beautiful ocean and mountain scenery. It seemed like the temperature changed every 5 miles. First it's foggy and overcast and cold then all of a sudden it's sunny and green and gorgeous. The drive alone was worth going.

But what was really amazing is that there is a small strip of beach known as a Rookery where these fascinating mammals come to birth, breed, molt and rest. Depending on the time of year that you are there you can watch  the males battle for breeding rights, you can watch seals give birth, and you can watch them sun themselves on the beach.

That's what we witnessed, the sunning on the beach, and it was awesome! I couldn't believe it when I first saw them. They looked like dead lumps of flesh that had washed up on the beach. But as we got closer we saw that they moved. The most hilarious part is while they lay there on the beach every once in a while they flip sand onto themselves with their flippers. There are several signs along the beach explaining facts about these seals and they say that while they don't know for sure why they flip sand it's probably to keep themselves cool from the sun blazing down upon them. (Click to enlarge)

It was so funny to watch them. When they moved they kind of just bounced around on the beach to get to where they wanted to go, not that they ever went very far. My daughter April said that other times when she has been there the beach is so packed with seals that you can't even see the sand!

If you ever get the chance, please visit this beach, it's worth it and if you have kids they will love it! We only had Chorizo and she loved it as you can tell in the mosaic below. If you would like more information I found a great website that gives lots of details and has an awesome slide show. It's from the Friends of the Elephant Seal and you can visit it here.  (click to enlarge)

And the view is awesome as you can see in the mosaic above. Chorizo just didn't know what to think. She would look at her momma and then back at the seals and you can tell she was just overwhelmed by all the different ocean smells. She loved it! She's a true water dog.

Linking up to Little Red House Mosaic Monday hosted by Mary. Please click here to visit all the other lovely mosaics.


  1. Very lovely mosaics also very interesting!!!

  2. Hi Alicia, How fun to watch all the seals, I used to live in the San Juans and see them there (they would chase you!) But I have never seen so many!
    Thanks for visiting my blog! The chocolate were more comfortable in my mouth! :-)

  3. What a glorious sight to see these Elephant seals and their babies!
    I suppose one of the perks of living in sunny CA!So much life on the beach!
    Spring brings new beginnings everywhere!
    How cute is your doggie!

  4. Great pictures! Thanks for sharing. Your Chorizo is so cute.

  5. oh my, I am envious, I'd love to be able to see them all - there are so many.

  6. Omigosh, that is amazing! What a wonderful place to visit! Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful images, Alicia! :)

  7. What a beautiful place I love your mosaic and your dog is gorgeous

  8. What an amazing sight...especially to us landlocked souls...Chorzio is such a cutie...Have a wonderful week!!!

  9. Neato!!! I have been there once before. Big Sur is awesome. When I was there it was covered in seals and they were all up and noisy.
    Thanks for the reminder:O)

  10. Hi Alicia,
    You got to see nature in all it's glory! Fascinating! There is a breeding spot up the coast from us, along Hiway 1. We took the kids there back in 4th grade for a field trip. We loved it, it was windy and freezing but so interesting and amazing to watch those elephant seals in action!
    You are lucky to have a travel companion who enjoys exploring with you!
    I hope you'll stop by for a visit, and join us for Wednesday Gratitude sometime!
    Heidi - Heart and Home

  11. Those seals are just wonderful. Something we can't experience here.

  12. Oh, God! What an unbelievable scene that is...all those bodies littering the beach!

    It's like a bunch of tequila-soaked people who've passed out right there on the sand!

    I'm so glad we got to see these, sweetie! Totally awesome!


Please leave a comment.I would love to know your thoughts!