Last Thursday, The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) initiated a work project on a needed repair adjacent to the North Beach visitor boardwalk at the elephant seal viewing site. Replacement of the drainage piping at the North Beach is expected to take about three weeks.
Over the past several months, a large sinkhole appeared alongside this boardwalk. It was caused by a failed culvert that should have allowed excess water to drain from the ranch land and highway to the beach. Many of the juvenile elephant seals that use the beach at this time of the year have discovered that the work is at the precise location they prefer for their month-long fall haul-out. After the arrival of heavy construction equipment and several days of Caltrans work, some seals are not giving up their favorite beach location. In fact, they almost appear to enjoy their close-up view of the construction in-between their beach naps. The seals that desire a more quiet stay on the beach have moved further away from the construction.
While the visitor access to the North Beach is closed from the main parking area, visitors can find good elephant seal viewing at the South Beach, because of the number of seals that have moved there. Visitors can view the seals remaining on the North Beach, only by using the trail that goes south from the paved parking area for the Boucher Trail.
Friends of the Elephant Seal (FES) guides will continue be present on the bluff each day from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during the construction. Look for the FES guides in the royal blue. The guides will be located where visitors can find the best elephant seal viewing. The recently launched Seal Science Sunday program that has proven to be popular with visitors of all ages will continue each Sunday morning between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
North Beach just before construction commenced
Caltrans workers and elephant seals check each other out