February 27, 2011

Bizarre Encounter in Cambria

A few weeks ago, Mike and I headed north to Cambria for a weekend getaway. We thought it would be a nice quiet weekend. Ha . . . we couldn't have been more wrong.
Every year, between December and March, North Beach in San Simeon (just above Cambria), becomes the breeding grounds for Elephant Seals. There is a boardwalk where people can view the seals from a safe distance and docents are present to answer questions.
The largest males weigh 5,000 pounds are are extremely dangerous. They continually challenge each other for breeding rights. The winner of each battle returns to the harem on the beach; the loser is forced to leave.
Their sounds were deafening! Click here to listen. Imagine hundreds of bulls fighting and honking, and mothers and babies screeching (bonding) at each other.
Each female gives birth to one infant, but some will let more than one nurse.
This was the largest baby on the beach, it looked as if it were ready to burst. I think it's safe to say that his mother didn't adopt other infants. Soon it will be on its own, and will need to learn how to fish. Until then, it will survive on the nourishment from the mom.
We spent a several hours watching, and photographing these amazing creatures. It was definitely worth the trip.