D(r)ive Report - 02/07/09 - San Simeon

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Posted by Patrick on February 09, 2009 at 18:09:22:

The weekend was looking bleak. The good ship Moby Kate was in perfect shape and ready to go. Unfortunately, the trailer wasn’t. It was in for new brakes, and so we were thwarted in that regard. Also, the weatherman and the NOAA web site were forecasting rain – sometimes heavy rain, throughout Saturday & Sunday. So, on a spur-of-the-moment decision, We decided to make a kamikaze run up to San Simeon and check on big love, pinniped porn during the annual mating event of the Northern Elephant Seals.

Departing LA at the crack of dawn (08:30?) we made good time up the 405 and caught the 101 north. Initially there was a light drizzle, but even before we hit Thousand Oaks, the skies opened up…

The rain was off and on all the way up to Gaviota, where after turning inland, it finally stopped and left us under gray, overcast skies all the way to Buelton. A quick stop at World Famous Pea Soup Anderson’s (pee stop Anderson’s), and we returned to Highway 101, fully refreshed.

Nippomo, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obisbo, we cruised north toward our destiny on the beaches of San Simeon under cloudy, threatening skies, with emerald-green hillsides and light traffic.

On our approach to San Simeon, the Weather Gods began to show a more benign side.

Just a few miles further, we arrived at Sea Elephant Central…

Unlimbering the camera, we went among them, via a long lens. Arrayed across the beach were females with their newborns.


The alpha and beta males battling for their piece of the beach and the winsome females that went with the territory.

Cheer up, Big Guy. Maybe you’ll get lucky further up the beach…

And after the fightin’ comes the courting…

And after the courting comes the lovin’ – sort of.

Oh Yah!

But all is not fun and games on the beach. Below, a mother is defending her deceased pup from the ever present gulls. The pup was crushed to death during an alpha male’s amorous charge after a receptive female.

At another beach just north of Piedras Blancas light house, we found a more docile crowd.

And this little guy, a recently weaned pup apparently thinking how badly life was treating him.

With the day slipping away, we moved south for a quick stop at San Simeon to take a look at the pier and the sea conditions.

After that it was time to head home, back down PCH for Santa Monica. About Morro Bay, the rain caught us again, but only for a few minutes, but we were rewarded for the inconvenience with a very nice rainbow.

The rest of the drive back was uneventful.
Though we couldn’t go diving (not having the fortitude of Ross-o and Elaine), it was still a magnificent way to spend a day.

Stay wet

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