Half Moon Bay and Other Coast Visits
A view to the north. If you look carefully, there is a hole where the next set of cliffs can peek through.
One of the more spectacular waves crashing on the beach.
Cindy at the beach.
On Saturday, we went for a 6 mile hike on the trail from Big Basin to the sea and visited the Pigeon Point lighthouse. We had a wonderful dinner at Pasta moon (excellent Frito Misto) and hung out in the spa. On Sunday, we went to see the Elephant seals in AŅo Nuevo State Reserve.
The front of the inn when we got there. Note the overcast sky, which made us feel as though we were back in Ithaca. It did rain Saturday night, but the rain mostly held back during the day (unlike Ithaca).
This was the bedroom that we stayed in. The bed was very comfortable, and there were flowers everywhere.
The trail starts at the sea and goes up to Big Basin. There are backpacking camps along the way that people can reserve. This picture was take shortly after we started our hike, looking east towards Big Basin. The trail follows a river that cannot be seen here.
Along the way, we saw these flowers which we believe to be snowdrops.
On the way back from our hike, we stopped at the Pigeon Point lighthouse. We got a tour that took us to the top (all 136 steps).
The view from the top of the lighthouse.
AŅo Nuevo State Reserve is devoted to the preservation of the Elephant seals. These animals come to the beach to give birth, mate, and raise their young. During this season, one has to get reservations for a docent lead walk, usually weeks in advance.
The tour starts at the parking lot, and goes to a meeting place near the Elephant seals, which is a about a 20 minute walk. This picture was take near the beginning and shows part of the coastline to the park, with an island containing the ruins of the AŅo Nuevo lighthouse. It used to be a point, but the surf has erroded the land bridge between the lighthouse and mainland.
The first animals that arrive at AŅo Nuevo are the bulls. What they do is to stake out a territory that is above the high water line where they believe is optimal for the females to give birth. The females will choose these areas, give birth, nurse, come into heat, and mate with the dominant males.
The first step to establishing a territory is saunter up to an open area and plop down in the middle. Because these animals will remain in the same place for 3 or 4 months (and lose up to 1500 lbs), they need to concerve energy, which they do by sleeping.
Every 10 to 30 minutes, the bull will defend his territory, or bachelor pad, by raising his head and vocalizing. If he gets no challenges, he goes back to sleep.
If he is challenged by another bull, they then will fight. They do this by presenting their proboscises to each other. Since their proboscis is directly proportional to girth, the seal with the bigger nose wins. If this isn't obvious, they then go after each other's noses. The one that is nose bitten loses. Here, two juveniles are mock fighting with each other.
This is the more typical scene, with bulls, cows, and pups on the beach. Can you see the island of males surrounded by females and their pups?
On the way back, we were greeted by this juvenile.