California Vacation: Elkhorn Slough

Before leaving the Carmel-by-the-Sea area, we decided to take a boat tour of the Elkhorn Slough. What a wonderful decision! We were on a boat where all the other participants were from a senior citizen group that seemed rather confused by our presence but were friendly nonetheless.

The first thing we saw was a sea lion fishing….and then we saw a dock full of 600 sea lions. They were all on top of each other and were barking very noisily. Some of them were frightened by the boat and tried to jump into the water, bringing with them about a dozen other sea lions that looked less than pleased to have lost their spot on the dock. What a ruckus! Our tour continued along the Moss Landing Harbor and we saw more sea lions and some seals in the water.

Then, we spotted our first sea otters. They are so incredibly cute! They were floating along holding hands. When they do this, it’s called rafting. They hold hands in order to not get separated. We then went by a raft of over 60 sea otters. Because they are endangered, a raft of this size is rare. The guide told us that we were looking at about 5% of California’s sea otter population. It was fun to see them all together, some of them eating, and many of them grooming themselves. One way they groom is to blow air into their fur to keep themselves warm. Though this action has an important biological function, it also looks extremely cute.

The next exciting animal we came across was a group of seals. According to our guide, one of the seals was only a day old. It was trying to get up out of the water but was struggling quite a bit. When it finally got to safety we moved on. Our boat continued on the path and we saw more seals, sea lions, and otters, in addition to countless beautiful birds. On our way back towards the dock, we saw some of the same groups of animals. However, our boat came especially close to a lone sea otter. He was eating — which was interesting to watch. Sea otters use rocks as tools to crack open the crabs, clams, and oysters that they eat. We heard him loudly pounding on what looked like a clam. How fascinating! The sea gulls were also watching with (self) interest. We were sad when the boat ride came to an end and definitely recommend a tour like this to everyone, but if you can’t go here are some of our photos.  -Emily

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~ by pagespages on June 15, 2009.

2 Responses to “California Vacation: Elkhorn Slough”

  1. want to know more about sea otters… want to help them survive for the next generation? visit http://www.otterproject.org

  2. […] about technological developments, learning how to pronounce and understand the meaning of slough (Here’s where we previously encountered the noun).  When we weren’t hanging out, we enjoyed the scrumptious exploits of June’s kitchen […]

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