Weaners in Surf

Weaniers

Photo by Michelle Marraffini

By Michelle Marraffini

During the Geological Oceanography field trip to Pt Reyes, students were lucky enough to see elephants seals playing in the calm surf. These seals are weaners meaning that they have weaned from their mothers and are ready to go out on their own in search of food.  Point Reyes elephant seal population numbers 1,500 and 2,000 individuals since their return to this area  in 1970’s.  Elephant seals have a habitat range from Mexico to Alaska and Hawaii.  They spend 80 percent of their life in the open sea in search of food and have bodies built for repeated diving.  Elephant seals can dive to a depth of to 1000-2000 feet, remaining at depth for almost a half an hour, and repeat the dive with only 3-5minutes rest at the surface.  Can you imagine diving for half an hour on one breath?

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