Over the MLK 3 day weekend, Anne and Becky traveled up from the Los Angeles area, I drove south on highway 1 and we met half way in Cambria. Cambria is cute little coastal town with tons of charm. Cambria offers many tasty restaurants, wonderful wine tasting, antique shops and various other stores that are filled with charm. During the month of January, the elephant seals beach themselves on their yearly migration trek so the females can give birth to their pups and the males are fighting over their female clan and mating to keep the cycle going. The last weekend in January is the wine festival. For lodging we stayed at the Morgan, a very nice hotel in San Simeon, 2 miles away from Cambria. There was a great walking path next to the ocean on Moonstone Drive.
The protected area went from one end of the beach to the other. There were hundreds of elephant seals on the beach. For every 20 or so females there was 1 male who was King of over these. Each of the females either had a pup, was soon to have a pup or already had a pup that expired.
The docents shared with us about the nursery scene. Here you see 1 female with 6 pups all around her trying to nurse. Only 1 of these pups is hers but the others have lost their mothers, either by not being able to find them on the beach, the mother's being young and not being able to call for them properly, or they deserted their moms. The sad truth is that this one mother will not have enough milk to feed anymore than one pup and the others most likely will expire from starvation. From the platform that was built to keep the people away from the seals, we view at least 4 dead pups.
Just below the front flipper of this male you can see the pup that we witnessed being born just a few minutes prior. This big fellow (the males can get up to 5,000 pounds), just had finished fighting another male and chased him into the water. He stopped almost right on top of the new born pup and gave out a big roar which I translate, "Stay back, these are my gals".