Not only did I find elephant seals and monarch butterflies last Sunday, the day started just after sunrise with about 25 sea otters at the main pier in Morro Bay. A nice surprise.
I posted eight images in a flickr album: 2017 Morro Bay.
Jan. 15, 2017: Elephant seal pup and mother at Piedras Blancas Seal Rookery north of Cambria, California.
After facing extinction by 18th and 19th century hunters, the elephant seals have made a recovery.
In 1892, only about 100 elephant seals remained alive on Guadalupe Island off of Baja California. They were completely gone from the California coast. In the 1920s, Mexico and the United States granted elephant seals protected status. Since then, their numbers have grown.
In 1955, elephant seals were spotted on Ano Nuevo Island near Santa Cruz, California. In 1990 they were first reported on the beaches south of the Pideras Blancas Light Station. In February, 1992, the first pup was born. By 1996 nearly 1,000 pups were born.
Thus, February, 2017, is the 25th Anniversary of first elephant seal pup born at Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal rookery. Today nearly 25,000 elephant seals and pups line the beaches north and south of the Point Piedras Blancas.
Starting in 1997, boardwalks and parking areas have been constructed allowing visitors easy viewing of the elephant seals. The beaches, including the rookery, became part of the California State Parks in 2006.
On Jan. 12, 2017, President Obama placed the Piedras Blancas Light Station into the California Coastal National Monument.
I've posted twenty more images in this flickr album: 2017 Elephant Seals.
Jan. 15, 2017: A Monarch butterfly poses at the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove.
About 10,000 Monarchs currently are at the Pismo Beach location posing for hundreds of visitors and their cameras. I found the single fellow, above, right next to the highway.
The site averages 25,000 Monarchs, so numbers were actually down this year. The Monarchs form clusters on tree branches hanging with wings down. This provides shelter from rain and warmth. The cluster's weight also provides protection from strong winds dislodging the Monarchs.
The wintering Monarchs live six months. The migrating Monarchs each live about six weeks for a total of five generations each year.
There are about 200 known wintering sites for the Pacific Coast Monarch migration. These sites are active from late October through February.
The Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove has onsite docents from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.daily. Talks are given at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
I posted 18 images in this flickr album: 2017 Monarch Butterfly Grove
Jan. 8, 2017: Images of the S.S. Victory Lane museum ship in San Pedro, California, taken with iPhone hipstamatic app.
Launched on May 31, 1945, the S.S. Victory Lane was delivered to the Maritime Commission, War Shipping Administration on June 27, 1945. The vessel served in World War II, Korea War and Vietnam War.
On Oct. 18, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed H.R. 2032 into law transferring the S.S. Lane Victory to the United States Merchant Marine Veterans of WWII. The organization took possession on June 7, 1989. The ship was towed to Port of Los Angeles and given a restoration into a museum ship.
On Dec. 14, 1991, the S.S. Lane Victory was designed a National Historic Landmark.
For the next two decades, the S.S. Lane Victory operated out of the Port of Los Angeles. The “Victory at Sea” day cruises were very popular. But due to needed boiler repairs, no cruises are currently planned.
One hundred and fifty Victory Ships were named for educational institutions. The S.S. Lane Victory is named after Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. The college was named after co-founder Dr. Isaac Lane, a former slave who became a Methodist Preacher. So indirectly, the vessel is named for Dr. Isaac Lane.
The ship is opened daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for self-guided tours. Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children. Two of the ship’s cargo holds have been converted to museums.
A total of 534 victory ships were built in the United States. Three remain as museum ships. The S.S. American Victory is in Tampa Florida. In 2013, I toured the S.S. Red Oak Victory is in Richmond, California.
Link to 2017 SS Lane Victory flickr album.
Link to 2013 Red Oak Victory flickr album.
My thoughts on images past and present.