After lunch and a little nap, I headed back to shore at St. Andrews. Since there was only about an hour and a half left of the day, I stuck to the beach rather then head out to the penguin colony. I was glad I did because the bull elephant seals were full of energy, roaring quite a lot, copulating (I was too late for that, but apparently it was mostly the "sneaky bastards" mating on the sides of the harems where the beachmaster bull couldn't see), and chasing each other around the beach, including right where our loading site was.
As I've said before, the elephant seals make such a racket -- all the noises are coming from their mouths, but it all sounds like belching and farting and hiccuping to me. The males are HUMUNGOUS! We're told that the average male coming to shore now is about 5 tons. This time of year, the males and females are all coming to shore to breed. The males fight for territory and access to females. The females are coming to shore to give birth to pups, they nurse the pups for about 25 days, the big "beachmaster" male will breed with the female, and then the female heads back out to sea, leaving the young pup behind to fend for itself and grow up.
I wandered down one end of the beach, away from the colony, and hopped over to some rocks to do some tide-pooling. Unfortunately, there wasn't much interesting in the pools -- seaweed was about it. However, there were some bulls in the water and near me on shore and they were as active as the other bulls on the beach. I took some videos of the craziness going on around me (www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153793158337072). The weather was calm when I arrived, but then the wind started up, followed by snow. Good timing since the Zodiacs were being loaded up with the last of the visitors. Shower and dinner sound good.
Today was a good day.
Top photo: Sleeping bull
Middle photo: Playing pups
Bottom photo: Talking bull