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04 February 2008 @ 11:29 am
Elephant Seals!  
Yesterday, I had an appointment with the Elephant seals at Point Reyes. These huge pinnipeds were actually much smaller than I had imagined them to be but it was awesome to see these fascinating creatures. Rain was predicted through the day but I took the gamble and headed out to Point Reyes. There was wind and rain and sometimes clear blue skies. At Point Reyes itself it was a beautiful day of clear blue skies with menacing rain clouds out in the Pacific. And the weather would change so often that it was weird. It would rain hard, then settle to a gentle drizzle, then the winds would kick in and there would be brilliant sunshine cutting through the copious cloud cover.

We first arrived at Drakes Beach and there was a signboard warning us of not getting too close to the seals but there weren't any that were visible. Just then we saw something out in the waves hitting on an unusually placed rock in the middle of the beach and the rock moved... Elephant Seal! The seal, perhaps a male, was moving north and he was using the edge of the water to drag himself along the shore. Apparently, aggressive males can move quickly enough to outrun humans over short distances but this one wasn't even interested in look at us.

We then moved over to the Chimney area, where there's an overlook to watch the breeding colony. That place had a lot more seals and young pups. A bunch of volunteers there had their scopes set on the main action - one on the young pups, one of the HUGE beach master (the male that "owns" and controls the beach) and the younger male who had challenged and been chased away! And though we had some good looks at the seals, it was virtually useless for good photographs.

I really wanted at least a couple of photographs of the seal, so we headed back to Drakes beach and from one of the high vista points, I scanned the seashore for the seals. About a mile north, there seemed to be one lying on the beach, but it looked so similar to a rock that I wasn't sure. I decided to give it a shot anyways and walked up along the beautiful Point Reyes coastline towards the seal. And like I had guessed, there were two young males on the beach! There were a bunch of volunteers there who told us to keep good distance from the seals because some of the seals were getting scared and moving back to the water when humans approached them. However, the distance they asked us to keep was well within the range of my cameras... so I did manage to photograph them. The seals were curious but didn't care about our presence as they enjoyed a beautiful day on the beach...

A youg male yawning...

Rock? Log? No. Elephant Seal!

Moving along the coast

Having a beautiful afternoon nap.

And they love their naps...

He would wake up once in a while and look around...

Up close

A yawn in his sleep...

The curious look. "Who's this strange puny idiot?" he was thinking perhaps...

Scratching the back...

Just like a rock...

Ravibeast_666 on February 4th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
awesome pics .. loved the series :)
IdahoSwedeidahoswede on February 4th, 2008 09:20 pm (UTC)
What a fantastic colour on the inside of the mouth, almost a fuchsia.
Yathinyathin on February 5th, 2008 12:05 am (UTC)
They just look like rocks with mouths and on a rocky beach, they are almost invisible! :)
Jayseakaredpirk on February 4th, 2008 10:14 pm (UTC)
damn those things are ugly..haha...but the photographs are great :)
Yathinyathin on February 5th, 2008 12:04 am (UTC)
> damn those things are ugly..

And for all you know, they must be thinking the same when they see us humans!! :))

Jayseakaredpirk on February 5th, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
most likely ;)
Premnath Kudvapremkudva on February 5th, 2008 04:18 am (UTC)
Yawning! It looks like he is smiling for the camera;-)
kejnkejn on February 5th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
i love napping on the beach! :)
suhassuhas on February 8th, 2008 04:14 am (UTC)
There is an interesting "red" pebble in front of the seal in the 8th photograph :). Ruby ;)?
Yathinyathin on February 8th, 2008 04:32 am (UTC)
Maybe it is. If it is indeed a ruby I'm the stupidest idiot in the world... :)