Good friends have been visiting from Massachusetts for the last few days and are now heading up the central California coast to Cambria and San Simeon.
Which got me thinking about a visit we paid to the area a few years back at Christmas time. We drove a few miles past Hearst Castle to Piedras Blancas beach and spent hours at the elephant seal refuge there, getting a close up look at these amazing wild creatures.
While there, Jonna was fortunate (and amazed!) to witness the birth of a baby seal. I had wandered up the beach, and missed the blessed event. And I would have been upset, except that during that walk I took the two shots at the top of this post, which were my best shots of the day.
In La Jolla (about 12 miles north of San Diego) there’s a cove that’s become a natural refuge for harbor seals. It’s wonderful to see this year-round population close up. Whenever friends come in from out-of-town, the La Jolla seals are always one of the high points of the tour. A local group has been fighting in court for years to have the seals forcibly evicted (really!), even though they bring joy to all who see them (and, I’m sure) revenue to La Jolla. It looks like the seals and environmentalists have finally won, but I’m sure there will be more twists and turns to this saga.
I was struck by the different approaches to a similar situation. San Simeon did everything possible to protect its elephant seals and create a safe haven for both animals and people. I wish the same could have been true for La Jolla, although, truth be told, a LOT of people were fighting for the seals…