Thursday, May 3, 2012

Healthy oceans

More bad news about the oceans today, that investigators find more plastic deeper in the oceans. It's discouraging, but the value of the Piedras Blancas site is that people connect with the ocean there in a personal way that touches their hearts. That may be the step that changes behavior.

The site is free, emphasizing to visitors that it belongs to them. Californians appreciate that this is here for them to enjoy any time. Visitors from other parts of the country and around the world appreciate that this ocean touches their shores, that this beach and the seals that spend part of their lives here are part of their world.

California is known for expensive, glamorous spectacles. Disneyland and Hollywood are major attractions. They have their appeal, if at high cost to vacationers.  Hearst Castle is an emblem of power and wealth. Visitors who happen on the elephant seal rookery find something unexpected. It's not a packaged experience. It's wildlife, unscripted, a complete contrast, a natural site where seals live their lives ignoring Highway 1 and its traffic.

The beach is crowded, with seals edging toward the water to stay on cool, wet sand. Others make themselves comfortable on their companions, like this peaceful pair.

We're not untouched by the problems brewing off our shores. But this place shows how it can be, if we take care of it.


  1. My family and I visited the elephant seals during one of our vacations many years ago. The sight -- and sound! -- of these behemoths was amazing! One idiot went down to the beach to get a closer photograph. Those seals may look passive, but they sure can put on some steam when they want to!

  2. Check out the new web cam, from the link at You can keep track of what's going on at the beach. Perhaps you will want to return!

    The educational power of the Piedras Blancas site is one of the strongest reasons I'm out there every week. When people know more, they will want to protect these animals and the oceans they live in. And they'll get over the idea that they need to be right next to them on the beach.