Dare I Write Another Post About Seals?


I truly grappled with this one… I've already written two posts about seeing seals in Santa Cruz and on 17 Mile Drive. Could I really get away with a third one? And so soon after the first two?


Well, I hope you'll forgive me because I decided that I would write yet another post about seals. I thought I would be remiss if I did not tell you that I saw the best seals of the trip on Sunday morning, right before we left for the airport to fly home to NYC. Because then what kind of a seal blog — er, I mean travel blog — would this be? So, in the name of responsible seal/travel journalism, I must let you know that the best seal viewing experience was at Pier 39 in San Francisco.

The day before, we had driven by Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, but from the car both of them seemed unappealingly touristy. From the street, all I could see of Fisherman's Wharf were chain restaurants, and it looked like Times Square on the bay. Plus it was raining, which also took away our desire to explore, even though I suspected that seals might have been at one of those piers.

Instead, we decided to go further along the waterfront and have lunch indoors at the Ferry Building, which is a foodies' paradise. Many of San Francisco's specialty food purveyors have little shops in there. I recommend getting the "cheese sandwich" from Acme Bread, which consists of a brie-like cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, arugula and a fruit spread.

I was content to skip those piers but then that night I was visiting a good friend who lives in SF, and she told me that were definitely seals at Pier 39 and that you could actually get fairly close to them. The seals I had seen in Santa Cruz and Carmel were so faraway that they were tough to watch even through my zoom lens. It was our final night of the trip, which meant that if I was going to see the seals, I would have to see them the next morning before we went to the airport for our 11:30 AM flight home.

Well, we woke up the next morning and it was still raining. But nothing was going to stop me from seeing the seals. We took a quick little trip there — as much as I love seals I don't like standing out in the rain. But there they were, about ten or 15 feet away from the pier, lounging on rafts. Some of them were barking, but a lot of them seemed to be trying to sleep through the noise. A few of them were swimming around, and then trying to climb on to the rafts, which the others seals didn't seem to appreciate. These were by far the best seals of the trip!

By the way, even though I have been referring to these animals as seals, I believe that most of them are actually sea lions. They are very similar, with the main difference being that sea lions have ear flaps while seals just have ear holes. But, I will probably just keep calling them all seals.


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