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Monday, August 3, 2015

A good deed for the day and elephant seals...

A strange combination of topics surely?
Well the good deed was on our Hearst Castle Day might remember we had had an early start and were at the meeting point in plenty of time...half an hour to spare!
The meeting point was actually Starbucks but cousin Adrienne suggested a photo in front of the cafe next door as it's an icon! Lol
         ( Photo by A. Parks) 
The tour was a little late starting. Apparently a translator was supposed to be coming with us to translate for a couple with no English...a young Italian couple. Finally our tour guide/driver found out that the translator was ill and that the company were unable to find a replacement at such short notice. It was interesting watching Rich ( the tour guide) trying to dissuade the couple from coming on the tour and to book for another day or get a refund. The couple didn't really know what he was saying but they seemed to know that they were doing the trip regardless. 
I stepped forward and offered Rich my iPad and suggested he use Google's not great but it seems to handle French and Italian translating very well. Being a man, he refused my offer. But as the trip started the teacher in me (still!) thought that this young couple would need to know times to be back to the vehicle after each stop, safety issues needed to be explained and it would be nice for them to be aware of some of the commentary at least. So....
Out came my iPad and away I went...the young couple soon got the idea and sometimes they would indicate they wanted to write a question or statement too.
So my iPad and I worked away throughout the day to just help make the couple feel a bit more part of our small group. The translations are a 'bit wonky' in grammar and syntax but understandable. And of course 'ok' is universal...and they would either say it or type it! I did teach them the Aussie favourite saying of DH...'No worries!' Lol. 
Now the second part of this the next photo, DH and the young Italian couple (who incidentally were on their honeymoon after being married on July 26!) are walking towards that railing in the midground of the photo. It is at San Simeon...
And this is what everyone is standing there and looking at...
Sun baking by the water's edge?
These are elephant seals and this is a rookery or colony of them...
Two of the males were having a bit of a 'set to'!
This fellow was just relaxing; notice that he is shedding an old layer of skin. Our guide told us that with each shedding they become progressively darker.
So knowing that about the colour, there are some youngsters in the next photo...
Hmmm...should I go for a swim perhaps he wonders?
Maybe I will! 
Wondering why they are called elephant seals? Well they have a hook of a nose that could resemble a trunk but...
Full  grown males measure 16 feet and weigh 6600 pounds and females are smaller but still weigh 1200 pounds! We were all advised to stay behind the fence and I had no problem with that! Lol
As well as the seals, we saw another creature darting around our fear of humans!

And then he ran down near the seals and he didn't seem to be frightened of them either. 

Now I have asked a few people for advice about what this little creature is. I had just assumed he or she is a variety of squirrel, but some people have said it is a chipmunk and others have said a marmot...whatever it is, it was very entertaining! :-)


Susan said...

The wonders of technology!!

Funny how the seals group up close...(reminds me of Bondi beach on a hot day...)

margaret said...

your ipad certainly saved the day so the young couple knew what was going on.
Such a sight to see all those seals what lovely memories you will be taking home with you

Lin said...

Well done Maria and great pictures of the seals. xx

doodles n daydreams said...

I thought that wee animal was a chipmunk but have only seen pictures of them so don't quote me, haha. I am thoroughly enjoying your trip and hope you continue having a great time. Good for you taking that young couple under your wing, who knows when you might need someone to do the same for you some time.


angela said...

What a kind thoughtful wonderful lady you are. Those Italian tourists will remember you forever.
How smelly was it at the seal colony. The one near Philip Island near where I live stinks lol