Yesterday, I wrote a post about how excited I was to see all of those seals in Santa Cruz. Little did I know that I would be seeing way more seals today on Carmel's famous 17 Mile Drive. Golf enthusiasts love this drive because you get to see three exquisite golf courses, including the world renown Pebble Beach. And I'd also heard about the famous Lone Cypress, a solitary tree that has lived on a rocky perch for over 250 years. But no one had ever told me that 17 Mile Drive was a great place to see seals!
You can access 17 Mile Drive from a few different gates, and when you pay your $9.25 per car admission they give you a map with all of the highlights. I saw that #10 was Bird Rock "home to countless shorebirds and groups of harbor seals and sea lions." But I wasn't sure whether to believe that because often when seals are promised, they don't show up.
If the weather had been as glorious as it had been yesterday, then 17 Mile Drive would have taken us hours because we would have wanted to stop everywhere for photo opps. But the sky was gray (although the sun did come out a little bit toward the end), and it was cold (low 50s) and windy. So, we didn't get out of the car and stop at every landmark… Which is how we almost ended up driving right past Bird Rock. From far away, it was hard to tell that the rock was covered with hundreds of seals — it just looked like dark moss/algae with some birds.
It turns out that seals love 17 Mile Drive. Fanshell Overlook and Cypress Point Overlook are both closed from April 1 to June 1 because it's the harbor seal pupping season. By closed, I mean that they put up chain link fences and cover them over with paper so you can't see anything. It's frustrating if you love seals to know that adorable pups might be right behind that fence, but of course it's nice to know that the seals are being protected.
Oh, and as my mom reminded me this morning, my love of seals began quite young because she would always take me to the Central Park Zoo in NYC. I loved the seals immediately, especially during their feeding time.
Even though 17 Mile Drive was a little gray, it was still beautiful and worthwhile. I promise to post more photos soon!