South of Big Sur

Heading out of Big Sur we came to an area where several cars were pulled off Hwy 1 viewing ‘something’ on the beach & in the water.
We decided we wanted to see what was up, so we pulled off the road into a small parking area above a narrow beach and, woooo, here’s what we saw:

The ones snoozing on the beach appear to be quite lazy, but we learned that most of the time, elephant seals are in the water and working very hard to catch their food.  The snoozing on the beach is needed to rest up to go back at their way of living.  Male elephant seals are much larger than the females and they make deep — guttural sounds.

Hunted nearly to extinction for their oil-rich blubber, elephant seals have made a remarkable comeback. Protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, they are expanding their range outward from remote islands and are now colonizing selected mainland beaches such as Piedras Blancas in the southern range of Big Sur, near San Simeon.

Elephant seals come ashore and form colonies for only a few months of each year to give birth, breed, and molt. The rest of the year the colonies disperse and individuals spend most of their time in pursuit of food, a quest which involves swimming thousands of miles and diving to great depths.

For more info elephant seals, check out the following link: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1115





 

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