Elephant Seals and Mustangs

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (134.5mm, f/9, 1/200 sec, ISO200)

There is a big reason to visit San Simeon. Or better there are hundreds of them. Big and fat reasons.

This is probably the best places to see elephant seals up close but it is for sure the most convenient one. Just right beside the highway number 1. It’s impossible to miss. There is a big parking lot and hundreds of visitors. I have to admit that before I came here for the first time I had no idea that there are elephant seals in the Northern hemisphere. For me those giants always belonged to places like Antartica and South Georgia. Remote places that I might never visit. So imagine my surprise to find them here in sunny California right beside the highway.

OK the northern elephant seal is a little smaller than its southern cousin but bulls are still up to 5 meters long and 3.5 tons heavy. So they are still a very impressive sight.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (63.8mm, f/10, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (128mm, f/10, 1/200 sec, ISO320)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (55mm, f/9, 1/340 sec, ISO200)

Impressive they are indeed (just look at the image above and compare to the size of the people) but maybe not the most attractive animals and the most active animals on the planet. Especially here in California. They look lazy tourists. Spoiled by nature documentaries I expected at least some smaller bulls involved in a bloody fight but there was no action at all beside an occasional grunt. No action plus a rather strong smell ensures that visitors don’t stay for too long.

The sea elephants have two good reasons to rest here on the beach: orcas and white sharks. Their only enemies. So if they are not out diving for food they just lay about here and avoid to waste precious energy.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (200mm, f/9, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (55mm, f/8, 1/400 sec, ISO200)

In my last blog post I talked about the most common car on highway number one: The Ford Mustang. It seems that almost every second tourist opts for Mustang. There is no way to deny that this is an attractive looking car. I always enjoy when I see one back in Austria because they are quite rare. Here it is different and this great looking car becomes a common sight. Just like a Volkswagen Golf or Passat back home.

A similar thing happened to another iconic car when I was driving through Beverly Hills. It seemed that every second car there was a Range Rover. I love the looks of the Range Rover but if everybody drives them it makes them then they are not special anymore. It reminded my of the bicycle repairman joke from Mounty Python. If you don’t know what I’m talking about just google for bicycle repairman.

One last thing: I really love this country. It is an amazing place and maybe one of the best countries for vacation but please could you finally adopt to the metric system! Forget about your feet, miles and ounces! Please just use what everybody else uses in the world. Below you can see what happens to a poor tourist who has no idea how many millilitre an ounce would be. But at least the beer fits the supersize portion of pasta.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (16mm, f/2, 1/220 sec, ISO200)