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A Whale of an Afternoon! Monday (Con'td), 2/23/15


After our morning at Point Reyes Lighthouse (post here), we drove a short distance east to the Chimney Rock area of the peninsula.  On the way, I saw a sign that said Sea Lion Overlook.  I parked and walked down a set of stairs, peered over the fence, and spotted a couple of hundred sea lions all splayed out on the rocks far below! The photo shows only a small slice of the overall number.  They must have been sleeping, 'cause I heard no barking.  They blend in well, don't they?  Oh, and you can see a token sea gull in their midst.



Wildflowers are beginning to bloom on the coastal bluffs.  This eye-popper is Douglas Iris, which usually blooms April to June (well, it IS almost March).  It's fairly common here, grows in clumps, and hugs the ground in windy spots.


After parking the car and eating lunch, we hiked to the Elephant Seal Overlook!  Winter is prime time to see these huge sea creatures near Chimney Rock, above beautiful Drakes Bay, and it is a sight to behold!  This is a breeding colony of seals ... males are the first to arrive here, in December to stake out a claim on the beach.  Then pregnant females begin to arrive and soon give birth to a single pup.  Again, the above pic is only one section of the elephant seal beach.  Imagine -- adult males weigh 4400-6000 pounds and are 12-18 ft long!!!


The racket at this colony could be heard a mile away -- snorting, honking, barking, huffing, and high-pitched wails (prob from pups being weened).  These guys are noisy!  You couldn't help but smile, it was so rowdy-sounding!  


Ranger Eric said the count was down from the 2/13 date, to a little less than a thousand.  Another fun fact about elephant seals -- their average dive is 2,000 ft and can last over a half hour (but they can dive to a maximum depth of 5500 ft).  Hoy!


Walking back toward the Historic Lifeboat Station, along Drakes Bay.  


We parked at the red arrow and "did it all."


Point Reyes National Seashore has so much to offer.  Miles of hiking trails and beaches, acres of wilderness -- this is a wonderful place to experience nature at it's finest (especially in good weather like we're enjoying!).  We saw many Black-tailed deer grazing the lush grass throughout the park.  


On our way to Chimney Rock, we paused to take in another breathtaking sight.


Looking back at the lifeboat station and the elephant seal colony along the far shoreline.


Jimmy gazing down at Chimney Rock and out to sea, one of his favorite things to do.


Checkerbloom posies are coming up now, too.


Looking down from Chimney Rock Overlook at the surf and the seabirds and this arch eroded by eons of pounding waves.  You can see two Brown pelicans atop the arch.  We saw quite a variety of sea birds on (or in the water near) Chimney Rock, as in lots!  Watching the wave action, hearing the ocean, breathing in the salt air, feeling the warm sun on our faces ... makes us feel peaceful and happy, and very grateful to be alive and well.


Coastal Wallflower beginning to blossom.


A sign posted nearby says, "The heyday of life-saving at Point Reyes is over, but 1927 station still stands alive with a history nearly lost along our coasts.  The station preserves the last intact marine railway on the Pacific Coast." Very cool to see.


And that pretty much sums up our afternoon.  We put many miles on the ol' feet today, up and down, and enjoyed every moment.  We were tired by the time we settled in Tergel's comfy confines!  We hit the sack embarrassingly early, and slept soundly (like dead people).  What a truly wonderful day!

What we gonna do tomorrow?

4 comments:

  1. Wow! I'd like to see those elephant seals. I'm surprised they give birth in December.

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  2. SO nice to catch up with you two! As you know, I have been enjoying other pursuits this past week and haven't had time to read blogs. Mo and I are going to head to the California coast in late March, hopefully there will still be green and flowers for us as well Always beautiful no matter. Loved seeing your photos...and did notice the jackets.

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    Replies
    1. Lightweight windbreakers. Seems like there is always a cool breeze on the ocean.

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