Sunday, 31 May 2015

Moss Landing State Beach

Hike 15 was Moss Landing State Beach - more beach, less hike. Since we were heading out after the 5 y.o.'s t-ball class, we didn't want to take on a big walk. Moss Landing State Beach had long been on the list due to the presence of sea otters and harbor seals. When we got there, the temperature was 61F and cloudy. The portable loo near the first parking spot was really smelly, and when we clambered over the dunes and reached the beach - well, it looked like any other beach. Beautiful, but no wildlife in sight. Between the hunger and the clouds, I have to admit that our initial reaction was one of disappointment. 

But we plonked ourselves down and started on lunch - and as we were sitting there, we started spotting the residents. A bunch of waders were running up and down with the incoming waves, and right in front of us, just a few feet from the shore, was our first sea otter. We soon got the hang of spotting them, and realized that there were many sea otters in the sea. Lunch over, and after the 5 y.o. had finished digging holes and tunnels in the sand, we walked over to the jetty. The walk to the jetty was interesting too, all sorts of stuff gets washed ashore. We saw plenty of crab shells, some vellela vellela and quite a few sand dollars. 

When we reached the jetty, there was a harbor seal pup sitting forlornly near the rocks. We wondered what the problem was, when a guy standing by said he had just called the Marine Mammal Center to rescue the pup. They arrived shortly, and though two of the volunteers tried to spot the parents, they ended up taking the pup along with them. This was the first time we saw a creature rescue, and it felt good! 

From the jetty, we saw plenty of sea otters - and pretty close up too! We spent some time sitting on the jetty and watching the otters play (or sleep, in the case of one who had drifted close to the jetty), then headed back to the car walking along the road. 

In the slough along the road we also saw a lot of harbor seals resting, so this turned out to be a very wildlife oriented outing!

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