Ano Nuevo Elephant Seals

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." -Mahatma Gandhi

Fifty-five miles south of San Francisco and the Golden Gate, a low, rocky, windswept beach juts out into the Pacific Ocean. The Spanish maritime explorer Sebastian Vizcaino sailed by the point on January 3, 1603. His diarist and chaplain of the expedition, Father Antonio de la Ascension, named it Punta de Año Nuevo (New Year's Point) for the day on which they sighted it in 1603.

Año Nuevo State Park, located about 11 miles south of Pescadero, is the site of the largest mainland breeding colony in the world for the northern elephant seal, and the interpretive program has attracted increasing interest every winter for the past 19 years. People who hope to see the seals during the winter breeding season are urged to get their reservations early.

The males battle for mates on the beaches and the females give birth to their pups on the dunes. During the breeding season, December through March, daily access to the park is available via guided walks only. Most of the adult seals are gone by early March, leaving behind the weaned pups who remain through April.

The elephant seals return to Año Nuevo's beaches during the spring and summer months to molt and can be observed during this time through a permit system. When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe -John Muir