Elkhorn Slough

Mother Sea Otter and Pup

When I read the paper this morning, I thought, we’re going to need a bigger boat. The Monterey Herald’s headline read; great white shark numbers are up. Apparently, actions taken during the sixties are still rippling through the food chain. Under Nixon the Marine Mammal Protection Act made it illegal to harm sea otters, seals and sea lions, allowing their populations to rebound. Now fifty years later, healthy marine mammal populations have led to a healthier great white shark population. We went to sea in a pontooned patio boat, but instead of heading out to open water, we headed inland, up the Elkhorn Slough. I had to ask though, especially after one of the larger tour boats advertised both wales and great white shark viewing, but our guide assured us that there are no sharks in the slough. That is the reason that the sea otters and harbor seals hangout there, they are protected from their predators by its shallow waters. We arrived early and because of Covid the complement of passengers was much lighter than normal. Conditions were perfect, not too cold, not too windy and with bright sunlight, which is really necessary to get good pictures in a bobbing boat. This was Anne’s and mine third excursion with this group, but it was Chris’s first. We saw lots of wildlife and we all got lots of pictures, but I didn’t see any sharks, but maybe I’ll see an Aww from Jane? Yes, I am fishing for comments, but I do not believe I need a license to do so. The sea otter pups have special fur that traps lots of air in it, creating a full body flotation device. Due to the cold water and the otter’s high metabolism, mom has to eat a third of her weight everyday. Harbor seals are nocturnal, so they sleep all day and return to the open sea at night. We saw over twenty-five species of birds.

Sleeping Harbor Seal

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