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Pinnipeds

Harbor Seal

Phoca vitulina

         
(1,6-9: San Carlos Beach, Monterey / 2-5: Whaler's Cove, Point Lobos / 10: Monastery Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea)

These guys are terribly cute, and often playful.  They'll come up to you and tug at your fins.  Here are some videos of harbor seals.  

How close will they get?  This close:
(1: Whaler's Cove, Point Lobos)

Seals eat fish.  This one's learned to hunt by dive light, and will often accompany us on night dives.  I call him Photobomb, because I have a lot of pictures of him eating what I'm trying to photograph.
   
(1-3: San Carlos Beach, Monterey)

Seals don't have visible ear flaps, just an ear hole.  If it's got ear flaps, it's a sea lion (see below), not a seal.
(1: San Carlos Beach, Monterey)

Did you know that seals have toenails?

(1: San Carlos Beach, Monterey)


Northern Elephant Seal

Mirounga angustirostris

 
(1-2: Whaler's Cove, Point Lobos)

This one's a juvenile which followed us across the cove.  I definitely wouldn't want to get this close to an adult.  Video here.


California Sea Lion

Zalophus californianus

     
(1,6: San Carlos Beach, Monterey / 2-4: Sutil Island, Santa Barbara Island / 5: Sea Landing Cove, Santa Barbara Island)