Out and About

Feb 11, 2014 7:41 PM by Jeanette Trompeter

Out & About: Elephant seals put on February show at Piedras Blancas

They're probably the second most popular attraction in San Simeon behind Hearst Castle, and maybe Lady Gaga this week. But just like the big castle on the hill, and Lady G, they draw tourists from all over the Globe. The elephant seals that return time after time are an unusual clan of creatures, but always so entertaining. The stretch of sand the Northern Elephant Seals like come to soak up sunshine this time of year is along highway one is about 7 miles north of San Simeon. Formally, it's called the Piedras Blancas Rookery. I like to call it Blubber Beach. "This is the most astounding thing I've ever seen." said Kathy Morgan, who was visiting from Boston. The 17-thousand less-than-svelt creatures who like to hang out here, are definitely a sight to see. "It is phenomenal, just phenomenal." Morgan added. The Elephant seals seem to have no inhibitions, or inclination of the kind of attention they draw. "They are just incredible. You know it's like they're so ugly, they're beautiful." said Morgan. It is show-time at the rookery. It's birthing, breeding, nursing and weaning season. That means it's a noisy, crowded place. Morgan couldn't believe how much activity there is on the beach this time of year. "I mean the bull elephants are going after each other, the mothers are going after each other, and the baby pups are so sweet. They are adorable." These adorable, and enormous creatures spend much of the year out at sea, migrating thousands of miles. But like many of the tourists who come to check them out, they keep coming back to this beautiful stretch of coastline. While there is a lot of activity happening, there's also a lot of lounging going on. Except for the pups who are nursing, all the big beasts are fasting while they're here, conserving energy for when take off again. The big boys will lose almost a ton of their weight when they're kickin' it at blubber beach. "I wish I understood them." said Bob Morgan, visiting from Boston with his wife Kathy. "I wonder what they're saying, particularly the mothers, because the mothers are fighting out there over something. I don't if the pups are getting mixed up or something, but they're fighting out there. Usually you talk about the males, but some of the mothers have been very active, and protecting or shooing away babies." One reason it's so loud is mothers do keep track of their pups vocally. It does seem there are as many languages being spoken on the beach as there are among tourists checking out the show. Last year there were about 5000 pups born out here during birthing season and this year they expect even more. Which means, no matter how many times you've paid a visit to watch these creatures, the show is particularly spectacular this year. Your odds are high of witnessing a birth, or at the very least witnessing a display of mother nature not everyone has in their own backyard. Watch the elephant seals from the comfort of your office via live webcam! Check it out at by clicking here.

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