Palo Alto (a.m.) / Santa Barbara (p.m.), USA
Date: Lodging: Distance: Total:
14/12/2001 Pepper Tree Inn 522 KM 236352 KM

PHOTOS
 
A couple of elephant seals waddle out into the water.

What a life!


 
About 2000 pups were born in the year 2000 up from virtually none a decade ago.

We watched this seal showing off and forcing other younger males away from his bastion.


 
Older male elephant seals sport trunks.

Playing seals III


 
Playing seals II

Playing seals I


 
Elephant seals were nearly extinct, but started coming back to the California coast in 1990.

Not even the persistent seasonal haze can ruin the sweeping views of California’s famous Highway 1.


 
Driving Highway 1 along the coast, passing through Big Sur, is one of the finest drives in America.


 
 
PAIGE'S NOTES
 
14 December 2001 – What a day! We drove Highway 1 along the coast passing from Monterey through Big Sur to Morro Bay. Winding roads, magnificent cliffs and stunning Pacific Ocean views, highlighted by a gleaming sun, make this one of the finest drives in the US according to Jim. Along the highway are few homes, some ranches stocked with cattle and horses and several national parks preserving this pristine coastline and the redwoods choker-block-full near Big Sur, home to a handful of lodges, motels and upscale hotels.

Near San Simeon and the Hearst Castle, we lucked onto a colony of elephant seals in the hundreds, lounging on the wide beach. Almost extinct 10 years ago, the seals are thriving now, with about 2000 pups added to the lot last year. Jim and I stood, as a forceful wind tore through, watching the fat, blubbery creatures waddle and wallow along the shore, but, much of the time, they just sat there and did absolutely nothing! A bulky, old male, with an impressive, dirty tusk, spent his time shoving, literally, other males away from his territory. Twice while we were there, he tangled with others vying for his harem. A couple of young, smaller, lighter-colored seals put on a show as well, tossing their heads at one another, making me wonder if they were playing or fighting.

For decades, Highway 1 has had a reputation for being a fantastic drive and, now, since the reintroduction of the elephant seals, the journey is even more captivating.

 
VIDEO
AUDIO
 
  Elephant seals on Hwy. 1 (Paige)