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Looking for Seals in All the Wrong Places

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Seals in Santa Cruz

From my previous blog posts, you may have inferred that I love monkeys. But did you know that I also love seals? The seal obsession started the last time I was in California, which was two years ago. I was asking the hotel concierge what sights to see on the drive from Santa Barbara to LA, and he suggested the seals at Carpinteria. So we went and saw about a 100 seals lying on the beach barking. They were just lying there, sunning themselves and occasionally readjusting their blubber. But I was totally hooked and I have been wanting to see seals ever since.

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Seals at Carpinteria

But until this trip to Northern California, I hadn't been in the kind of places that seals like to go. On Friday, I was hoping to see seals at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve at Moss Beach, but alas there were no seals (and none of the promised starfish either). But I knew that was just the beginning of seal sighting opportunities, so I wasn't too upset. Today we drove down Highway 1 from Half Moon Bay to Carmel. A stop at the Ano Nuevo reserve was on the agenda, because there are supposed to be tons of elephant seals that hang out there. I don't like elephant seals as much, but I was still excited. But we went there and only saw one seal (regular, not elephant) swimming for about two minutes before it completely disappeared under the waves. It was a little guy (or gal) being trailed by two big seagulls, who wouldn't have stood a chance but still made it nervous. Oh well. I figured that at least I had seen a seal on my trip. Check.

Our next stop was Santa Cruz. We went to the cliff at Lighthouse Field state beach, as an excellent vantage point to watch the surfers down below. Then I noticed a big rock further out that was covered with seals and pelicans (pictured above). It was a little far away for my zoom lens and amateur binoculars, but I could still hear the barking. And I was happy to have seen my seals!

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