Video: The Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery
It is now day #5 of our 10-Day California Central Coast Road Trip.
We greatly enjoyed our three nights at Santa Barbara’s San Ysidro Ranch and we are now headed north up the California Central Coast, through Big Sur, until we reach Carmel Valley and the Bernardus Lodge and Winery where we will spend the next three nights.
One of the “must see” spots along the Central Coast, seven miles north of San Simeon on Highway 1, is the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. Look for road signs pointing to elephant seal watching.
We arrived during the “fall haul out of juveniles”.
“The fall haul out of juveniles begins in September and the early arrivers share the beach for a few weeks with the molting adult males. Their number increases, reaching a maximum around the first of November and tapering off into late November and December when they again share the beach with the older males returning for the birthing season.
Beyond resting and, for the males, playing, little goes on during this period. Life in the sea puts no gravitational stress on their skeleton, so the visit helps to accustom the young seals to life on land and to build bone mass. It also develops the habit of a second visit to the rookery which will move later in the year as they age and involve them in the birthing and breeding period.” (via Friends of the Elephant Seal)
Here is a Los Angeles Times video shot during the birthing and mating season.
Here is a Google Map link to the rookery. Enjoy!