Month: March 2020

Reflections from a Mountain Stream

Reflections from a Mountain Stream

“Babbling brooks fill our hearts with their merry song, tinkling like child’s laughter.”  Heather Sinton Taking time to reflect by the side of a beautiful mountain stream is medicine for the soul. I love listening to the sound of trickling water and we will soon…

It’s International Day of Happiness!

It’s International Day of Happiness!

The United Nations (UN) annual International Day of Happiness has been celebrated on March 20th since 2013. Each year the UN releases its World Happiness Report which ranks 156 countries on six indicators that support well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and…

Elephant Seal Viewing on the Big Sur Coast, California

Elephant Seal Viewing on the Big Sur Coast, California

One of the highlights of our trip along the Big Sur coast of California in late February was watching the northern elephant seals at the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, north of San Simeon. More than 7,000 elephant seals live here, making it one of the largest rookeries on the California coast. This seal is a conservation success story. After being hunted almost to extinction for their blubber, the population has rebounded from 100 to 150,000 animals. About 124,000 northern elephant seals are found along the California coast.

We saw hundreds of seals on this beach, basking in the morning sun. These large mammals spend most of their lives at sea, coming ashore only to molt, give birth, and mate. There was a good crop of pups, most of which had been weaned after a month of feasting on their fasting mothers’ milk. However, several were still trying to nurse while we were watching. When the mother tried to move away, the pup would follow; sometimes resorting to biting her in frustration. The pups spend another couple of months on the beach after weaning, learning how to swim and dive before heading out to sea.

The females are ready to mate during the last few days of nursing and the dominant males make sure that other males stay away from their “harem”. Male elephant seals have a pronounced long nose and a thickened area over their chest. They will spend up to 3 months on the beach fasting so that they can mate with as many females as possible. They allow a “beta bull” to help prevent other males from accessing the females. In return, this assistant may have a chance to mate with a female while the alpha male is otherwise occupied. 

A boardwalk has been constructed above the beach to allow viewing at a safe distance – for both the seals and the humans. Well worth a stop in the winter months while the seals are in residence!

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Celebrating International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made towards gender equality, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary people. We need to stand together to ensure that our hard-won rights are protected and continue to…

It’s Already Springtime in Big Sur, California!

It’s Already Springtime in Big Sur, California!

Canadian winters tend to be long…by February Canadians are looking for some “green inspiration”!  We were lucky to have a late winter break in California recently and I can share some photos to brighten your day. Part of our exploration included the rugged Big Sur…