Where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean in Jenner, California, there is a long strip of sandy beach. The coast is punctuated with rocks jutting up out of the surf. At sunset, the light is a certain indescribable golden hue that only beaches seem to have. Something else makes the beach special. Not just the photogenic driftwood or the accumulated clouds at dusk.
Goat’s Rock Beach is home to a seal harbor sanctuary. From March to July, mama seals come to the beach to have their pups and hang out. Curious juveniles swim up to kayaks (including ours today) to pop their heads out and watch before slipping back under the surf. On the river side of the shore, you can see dozens of seals laying out, peacefully soaking up the sun.
|Sorry this photo doesn’t really capture the seals. But they’re there. And they’re awesome.
I could sit for hours and watch the little gray, slippery heads venture out of the waters; it’s like having your very own Nature Channel. Just the other day I was enjoying watching the seals brave the curve in the current to make it to the other side of the beach.
I considered framing this post as a rant, or as a “3 ways how not to ruin nature” deal. I wanted to rail against decisions I thought other people shouldn’t have made. But I decided against it; I’ll let the negative energy slide. The one thing I want to remind you, dear readers, without sounding too preachy or rude or whatever, is to be respectful of signage in nature preserves.
Please, please, please.
If there are a million signs asking to stay a certain distance away from the wildlife, follow those instructions. They are there for a reason, namely being the safety of the animals, and to ensure that they have a home to return next time they are there.
Harbor seals do not move easily on land. When they are startled on land, they may abandon their pups to go back into the water until the area is safe again. If an entire group of seals is often disturbed by people, they may not go back to that location. Use common sense. Don’t disturb natural habitats, ESPECIALLY the ones that are all special and preserve-y and stuff.
Okay, I’m done now with that part. But while I’m on the topic of seals, does anyone else remember that movie, Andre?
About the seal that the little girl raises and she turned up later in Napoleon Dynamite? I loved that movie. The soundtrack was epic…
|Photo courtesy of Stargate Cinema
Kayaking was great, though! I forgot what a good arm workout it is. We got to see the water and the beach and our house from another perspective, and then we ate a really big lunch.
P.S. The weather here is perfect.
P.P.S. Here are wise words from our dear friend, Aretha.