Last weekend Danielle and I went to visit the elephant seals in San Simeon. This is the time of year when the girls give birth, and the boys fight over the girls. On the way up we stopped at Pismo, which we usually ignored. It was cold, but nice to finally see the place. The beach is great, and we had some tasty barbecue at Mo's Smokehouse. We were also very surprised by a turkey vulture that was flying very low around the beach area.
Arriving at the elephant seals, it was even colder. We parked at the lot just past the main one, and walked off in the other direction to stay away from the crowd. Instead, we got to see the stupid people who crossed the barriers to get even closer to the animals. (As if 20ft isn't close enough.) When we got too cold, we walked back and set up camp at San Simeon campground. In the morning we hiked about 3 miles of trail that ran around the campground through very varied terrain.
Then we went off for more seal watching. It was high tide, so beach space was at a premium, and all the seals seemed more edgy than usual. Females were even fighting each other for a place for them and their pups. We also saw a pup get separated from his mom. It was interesting how the pup appeared totally lost, while his mom was 30 ft away, watching him and barking at him. (Note that the 30 ft was covered in seals, so they were pretty far apart.) The giant males don't need to fight for their turf. They just look at the younger males and they retreat. The younger males fight each other, one was chased into the water, and under water. It's a great spectacle, and you get front row seats. I don't know of any place on earth where you can see big wildlife that close in its natural environment.