Elephant Seals of San Simeon

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San Simeon is a small town above San Luis Obispo and Morrow Bay that is know for two things, Hearst Castle and Elephant Seals. However one of those two things is free to visits and the other is 25 dollars a person, so naturally I checked out the elephant seals along the San Simeon coast. These creatures are truly unique with their huge stature and overall playfulness. Wikipedia gives the following background on them.

Elephant seals derive their name from their great size and from the male’s large proboscis, which is used in making extraordinarily loud roaring noises, especially during the mating competition.  The males can grow to 14 ft (4 m) and 5,000 lb (2,300 kg), while the females grow to 11 ft (3 m) and 1,400 lb (640 kg).elephant seals basking in sun

The seals viewing area is located right off of highway 1 before you start the trek along the coast through Big Sur. The viewing area can sneak up on you, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled once you pass through the city of San Simeon. This is a popular attraction with many daily visitors and you can easily spend some time taking in the beautiful coast line that is adjacent to the seals.

san simeon coastline

You can only get about 25 feet from the seals at any given point. There is a long walk way that allows you to have many different views of them, but if you are going to take pictures make sure you bring a zoom lens. The seals themselves are very playful, and they are always making noise and biting each other. Some like to throw sand on their bodies as well to cool themselves down.

elephant seals fighting

The pictures may not show it, but these creatures are huge. I like the fact that I am on a viewing area because they appear to move pretty fast and outweigh the average human by 1100 pounds. Make sure you walk the whole length of the viewing area as there are more spots in the back where less people usually go. Plus the scenery is beautiful so you will want to take it all in.

elephant seal viewing area in san simeon

Make sure if you find yourself in the area, don’t just visit Hearst Castle, spend some time with the elephant seals as well.

Check out the rest of the pictures and leave me a comment if you feel so inclined.

 

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  • http://www.bycostello.com bycostello

    wow great images

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  • http://www.natekat.com Katharine

    Great photos! For anyone thinking of checking out the seals, the best time of year is Dec-Feb (although I’ve heard there are some seals on the beach all year). At that time, the males (which have the characteristic elephant nose) are fighting and posturing to earn and defend their harem of females. Meanwhile the females are giving birth, the pups are learning to move around, and the adults are mating again. At that time of year the beach is MUCH more full of seals than what you saw. Plus the males are just indescribable… you have to see (and hear them) to believe it!

    My husband and I just visited a few weeks ago… check out how it looks in February:

    http://natekat.com/2012/02/26/elephant-seals-piedras-blancas/

    Be sure to stop and see the thousands of Monarch butterflies in Pismo beach since they are there the same time of year.

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