One wrong move cascades into a big problem

Who wouldn’t want to observe seals and their little pups in La Jolla, California? We walked toward the ocean cliffs and, when we saw many tourists ahead, knew we were headed in the right direction.

A staircase led down to La Casa Beach.   A line drawn in the sand extended out from the stairs – separating seals on the right from people on the left. We joined other observers behind the line and happily watched the resting mother seals and their pups. An occasional seal would stir to make its way to the water, and its pup followed behind.

At a moment when few people were present, the woman in the green jacket came over to the line in the sand and scuffed it out with her bare foot. Then she smiled and motioned to her friends to cross over into the seal area to take photos. No “line” to stop them now.

Others moved into the protected area to take their photos. As a result, the seals were limited to a small path by the rocks to get to the ocean.

Time out. What were they thinking? Somehow, we assumed everyone would know that the mother seals should not be stressed and should be allowed plenty of space for themselves and their pups, including a wide accessible path to the ocean.

One woman wanted to have her friend take her photo with the seals so she moved right in and blocked the seals’ path for her portrait.

It all came down to this. How was the seal going to get to the ocean to feed herself and her pup?

When we climbed back up the stairs, we saw this sign, posted too far from the steps down to the beach. Why wasn’t the seal area of the beach roped off or closed to people?

Only later did we discover the walkway wrapping around Children’s Pool Beach. There the seals were undisturbed.

We spent a long time observing them laying on the rocks…

…and swimming in the ocean.

Apparently the contentious issue of room for the seals versus unlimited access for people has been hotly debated for years. However, it was clear to us that seals deserve more protection and people need more education.


March 2017



About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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15 Responses to One wrong move cascades into a big problem

  1. The problem here is that the seals and sea lions have taken over the Children’s Pool, which is where the extraordinarily rich used to take their children to the beach in La Jolla. Rules don’t apply to the extraordinarily rich, and they certainly don’t appreciate big, loud, stinky animals or birds. The seals and sea lion began arriving in the mid-1990s, and ever since then it’s been an ongoing fight between people like you and me, and the extraordinarily rich La Jollans. Fortunately, seals and sea lions are protected by federal statute. Sadly, the current president, Twitler, is doing away with protections for wildlife, ocean, land, and air, so eventually people like that lady will rule the day in La Jolla. When that day happens, though, I suspect that the State of California will step in to do what the federal government won’t be able to do.

  2. Jeannie Claypoole says:

    We do a much better job of protecting our seals that congregate during the spring pupping season at Sea Ranch on the Northern California coast. Where they gather, the beach is closed, stairs are blocked and a large sign tells people to keep their dogs away and be respectful of the seals. Volunteer docents such as myself are stationed in shifts on the bluffs where people can view but not bother the seals. There’s still plenty of places where people can enjoy the ocean without disturbing the seals.

  3. Diana says:

    This kind of thing is so frustrating. I see it more and more these days…a complete lack of respect and regard for nature.

  4. This is so frustrating. We experienced the same situation while watching yellow eyed penguins returning to feed their chicks. Don’t block the path between the sea and the nests was the instruction. But for most people it seems silly rules prevent great close up photos and who cares if the offspring starve. In the end access has to be blocked for all, that is if we let the species survive.

  5. The thought that the lady deliberately scuffed out the line knowing its purpose is outrageous. She and her friends are lucky a seal didn’t take exception to them being so close. How ignorant. Eventually the beach will be closed for good and the actions of a few will have affected everybody.

  6. plaidcamper says:

    It appears the woman in the green jacket is determined to do exactly what the second part of her T shirt says. And she wasn’t alone. The thoughtlessness is quite astonishing…

  7. leggypeggy says:

    Amazing to me how so many people think the rules don’t apply to them. Disgraceful.

  8. Bernice Rowe says:

    People can be so thoughtless! Last time we were in Hawaii a large seal was sunbathing /-the Rangers had put crime scene tape all around, even into the water . I was pleased to see hours of onlookers stepping near the tape and taking pictures but not even speaking loudly. They respected the seal’s privacy!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

  9. Wow that’s terrible, the beach could seriously use a patrol.

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