Finally – a trip to see the elephant seals at Año Nuevo State Park

female elephant seal

The Adventurers have long talked about visit to see the elephant seals during their annual migration to Año Nuevo State Park on the coast. Today they made it happen – with reservations made a month or so ago, which are necessary even during the week. (Tip: Go before 10:00 during the week to avoid the many school groups.)

Explains the state park website: “Año Nuevo State Park is one of the largest mainland breeding colonies in the world for the northern elephant seal… During the breeding season (Dec. 15 to March 31) daily access to the Natural Preserve is available only via guided walks…This is the time when male elephant seals battle on the beaches for the right to mate and the females give birth to their pups on the dunes. Most of the adult seals are gone by early March, leaving behind the weaned pups who remain through April.”

male and female and babies

The Adventurers were lucky enough to see a little bit of everything: a bit of male fighting, males attempting to mate, lots of babies (the smaller black specs), and all in the just a lot of jostling a bit and sand spraying.

The docent told us the seals neither eat or drink anything while they are ashore, living of blubber and stored up moisture. The males can way up to 5,000 pounds, which is a figure that’s hard to wrap the mind around.

It was a lovely day on the coast – warm with no wind. After their elephant seal visit, they checked out the Costanoa resort and, to make the day complete, had lunch at Duarte’s in Pescadero. The “half and half” is one of L’s favorites. And becoming D’s, too. Half artichoke and half green chile soup, for the uninitiated…

D looking at elephant sealsTop two photos by Dennis Nugent; bottom photo by Linda Hubbard

 

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