morro bay

seal feeding

Beachy Keen got to feed the seals at the Morro Bay Aquarium!

For about $1.00, you get some pieces to feed them, and they love catching all the snacks. Beware, you might get a fish head in your bag!

Video taken by Avrah Baum.

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Giovanni’s Fish Market

Giovanni’s Fish Market has been a huge attraction in Morro Bay, California for the past thirty years. Beachy Keen loves anything seafood related, so naturally checking out Giovanni’s was a must-do.

Review: Sun N Buns Bakery

YUM!

Beachy Keen visited Sun N Buns Bakery in Morro Bay, California, and the well-known coffee shop did not disappoint. Besides coffee, they offer pastries, espresso, ice cream, and even dog treats! This family-owned business has been here for years and is a favorite among locals and travelers alike.

IMG_7865Sun N Buns Bakery. Image by Avrah Baum.

Their mochas are excellent, and their ice cream is a real treat. Their prices are fair and the indoor seating offers a sunny atmosphere to chat with friends and enjoy some of their pastries and sweets.

If it doesn’t sound good enough, they sell T-shirts and tank tops that read, “Everybody wants my buns”.

If you were wondering, yes, Beachy Keen definitely bought one.

review: THE SHELL SHOP, INC.

Beachy Keen was in Morro Bay (again) this past weekend and paid a visit to The Shell Shop, Inc.

Since 1955, The Thomas family has owned and operated this world renowned store, and according to their site, has the largest collection of shells and collectible marine life on the Central Coast.

Upon entering, you’re immediately surrounded by the warm sunlight beaming in from the windows and an inviting vibe. Beautiful corals and jewelry boxes line the shelves, and shell chandeliers hang from the ceiling. The long tables are covered in baskets that are filled with a huge assortment of discoveries for sale. You’d be hard-pressed to find another place that has dried out sea horses, pufferfish and shark jaws!

A sun-filled corner with shell crafts

A sun-filled corner with shell crafts. Image by Avrah Baum

I purchased a night light with a beautiful whale carving on a purple shell.

Shell Night Light

Shell Night Light. Image by Avrah Baum

A favorite item there are the painted shell roses! At only $2.50 each, you can pick up a couple (or a dozen…) for your Valentine.

Shell roses

Shell roses. Image by Avrah Baum.

You haven’t seen anything yet. Check out The Shell Shop on any day of the year, (minus Thanksgiving and Christmas) and be prepared to be completely wow’d by what you find.

A DAY IN MORRO BAY

At Beachy Keen, getting the opportunity to enjoy clear skies, warm weather and a cool breeze is a day well-spent. We visited the Morro Bay Aquarium in Morro Bay, California, this past week and documented our discoveries and adventures. All pictures taken and edited by Avrah Baum. Enjoy!

The Infamous Elephant Seal

It isn’t every day that someone gets the opportunity to witness a creature as marvelously atrocious as the elephant seal. The most famous inhabitants of San Simeon, California, sees visitors from as far as Japan each year. As ridiculous as it may sound, it’s for a good reason.

Male_elephant_seal

So ugly it’s almost cute. Borrowed from Wikimedia.org, free to use/share.

In the 18th century, elephant seals were hunted almost to extinction for their blubber. By the end of the 19th century, they were believed to be extinct. A small population of them were found, however, and in 1922 they became protected by the Mexican government. Their numbers continued to grow after the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. In the 1990’s, fewer than 2 dozen seals were found on the beach just south of the Piedras Blancas lighthouse.

Within a few years, their numbers climbed and there are now about 17,000 of them that currently thrive there. Along the North America Central Coast, their numbers have recovered to over 200,000. Needless to say, the elephant seal has made quite the comeback.

Numerous nonprofit organizations have been founded to protect the unique creatures, including Friends of the Elephant Seal. Scientists keep a close eye on the elephant seal population, and literally stand on the beach and count them.

Richard Condt, a scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute interviewed with The Cambrian and explained, ‘“They are all just sitting there in a pile waiting to be counted,” he said. “Not many animals will do that.”’

Besides being hilariously unfortunate looking, the seals are known for their obnoxious social tendencies and mating habits. Their typical lazy demeanor is deceiving: if you’re visiting the beaches between Morro Bay and San Simeon during the months December-February, you might be lucky enough to witness the bloody battlefield of the elephant seal dating world.

Beachy Keen got the opportunity to speak with Gita R. Kolluru, Ph.D., a Biology professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.  “The elephant seals have a resource-oriented mating system,” Dr. Kolluru explained, “the most ‘fit’ males have the largest territories and therefore have access to all of the females within their territory.”

These territories, called harems, tend to have at least fifty females. The biggest and strongest males can defend those harems from smaller, weaker males.

In an interview with KQED Science, Caroline Casey explained how researchers are keeping track of who’s in charge of what territories, “We have come up with this ranking system where we assign each male a score”. When males fight, depending on who wins and who loses, their scores are adjusted accordingly.

This highly competitive mating atmosphere results in about 90% of male elephant seals never producing offspring. If a smaller male challenges a larger male in an attempt to find a mate, a scuffle will surely ensue. Sometimes a tilt of the head and a snort is all it takes to end the confrontation, but if a fight escalates, it can get bloody very quickly, sometimes resulting in death.

Yikes! it sure makes the human dating experience seem like a cakewalk.

Stay tuned for next week’s adventure, when Beachy Keen explores Montaña de Oro and the critters within its vibrant tide pools!

Northern Elephant Seal, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, CA 02feb200

Not your typical brawl. Image by Avrah Baum. Free to use/share.