Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Safari in Sand

I am awed by hundreds (soon to be thousands) of elephant seals
bubbling up out of an angry Pacific Ocean in a not-so-secluded Point
Piedras Blancas Beach in the Big Sur area of California.

The two--ton males raise their massive heads and bellow (a deep,
resonate sound like that made by a huge rubber mallet striking a huge
hollow log), defending their rights to their harems. Pups, scattered
along the beach, imitate their dads, only their bellows resemble
honks. Then, the newborn (just one today, right), squeaks, defending nothing,
demanding dinner.

The pelting rain whisks us inside Otto, where we still hear the
bellows and honks. This is just the beginning of the elephant seal
season here.

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