Canyonlands 2002
Grand Canyon 2001
SSN FAQ Geneology

In mid-January, Janet and I went to Año Nuevo to see the Elephant Seals. .
Año Nuevo is on the Pacific coast of the San Francisco Peninsula. From December to March each year, the beach is a protected nature preserve, and during that period you can only visit when acccompanied by a docent. The animals are called Elephant Seals because of the "trunks" on the males.
The Seals come ashore for the winter, primarily to mate. The biggest males collect a harem, and get to reproduce. They have to fight for the privilege, though. In this picture, you can recognize one alpha in the middle of his harem. He's darker than the others, who are mostly female. The dark guy in the foreground is a beta; he stands guard for the alpha, but doesn't seem to get much else out of it. The alpha has a discolored upper body. Those are his wounds from defending his territory. .

Here's a close up of a Beta male standing guard. They can move 25 feet in 3 seconds, so don't get too close!


One of the reasons people find it worth visiting Año Nuevo is because some of the seals are seriously cute.

Another reason is that watching the males fight is pretty impressive. I have a fight sequence captured on a separate page (so you can download it separately.) It's pretty impressive.