A comprehensive look at the stunning California Central Coast, including Ventura, Ojai, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obipso, Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Cambria, Carmel and Monterey. Find out what you didn't know!
days before President Obama left office he invoked the Antiquities Act of 1906,
and no, it has nothing to do with antiques. What President Obama did was to
expand the California Coastal National Monument, a move that provides added
protections for the elephant seal colony at Piedras Blancas located just north
of San Simeon and the Hearst Castle. The California Coastal National Monument,
originally established by President Clinton in 2000, protects and preserves “objects
or sites of historic or scientific interest” along California’s Central Coast.
More than 17,000 elephant seals migrate thousands of miles to come to this
secluded sandy beach twice per year, and now they are fully protected. Bless
their fat little hearts.
Boys being boys.
Located four miles north of
the Hearst Castle, 12 miles north of Cambria the elephant seal rookery is
visible by “Elephant Seal Viewing Area” signs. If that doesn’t work you’ll see
a lot of people looking over a low wood fence pointing indiscriminately. No one
is certain why the seals keep showing up here, but they do.In the winter months the seals come here to
breed, in the summer months, they molt. Winter is the best time to view the
males, females and newborn pups. They might seem lazy at first, strewn across
the sand like so much chubby road kill. But they can be forgiven. They can dive
up to 3,000 feet and swim at three miles an hour and, let’s not forget, they
carry all that blubber with them. They started appearing in these low sand
protected beaches in the early 1990s and haven’t left yet. The males will spar
for territorial rights, the females who appear to just want to be left alone.
And they are loud, making a horrible sound like a bad Chewbacca impression. The
seals are around all year, though not in the quantities like summer and winter.
The docents are there all year too, people in blue coats emblazoned with
“Friends of the Elephant Seal” on their jackets. Ask them anything. The
information is free, the show is free and you might spend more time here than
you ever expected.
The Big Sur Coastline
very grateful to President Obama to include one of San Simeon’s most precious
resources as part of the California Coastal National Monument,” said Michael
Hanchett, president of the San Simeon Chamber of Commerce. “This elephant seal
rookery has become a globally loved place. Three-quarters of a million visitors
come to see them each year, which helps support and preserve local businesses
and jobs.” Obviously Hearst Castle is nearby, the charming town of Cambria, the
Piedras Blancas Light Station, whose tower and support building are listed on
the National Register of Historic Places. Just north you begin the staggeringly
beautiful Big Sur Coastline. There are wineries dotted south in Cambria,
Cayucos, Morro Bay, and a plethora of them on Highway 46 West, which, runs from
Cambria to Paso Robles. Time to hit the road, my friends!