What…what’s the difference between a seal and a sea lion? Is “seal” just a truncation of “sea lion”? Please answer if you know!

I just got back from Monterey, CA on a business trip. Pretty town, weather that makes you understand why people want to live in California despite being prone to virtually every natural disaster on the planet. Temps 30 degrees lower than NoVA at the time I left. How can they be on the coast and not have humidity? Still wish I’d managed to get into that meteorology class at UF.

On my last afternoon there I decided, despite it being probably 6:30 and being tired, to go check out what looked like a 3-4 seals on some rocks down along Coast Guard Wharf, and a couple of people there watching them. I could hear some barking. So I headed down, and wow, am I glad I did! All in all I probably saw 50 seals — I’ll try to get some pics up but in the meantime check out the first picture here, and the link above. What fun! Different shapes and sizes, and the one loner I saw first, farthest up the wharf. He looked sad, forlorn — he had what looked like a fresh wound on his back (no blood, just the skin looked pink). I wondered if they suffer the same boat accidents as our manatees do in Florida. There was one loner further down who kept sticking his face upward — I got some nice closeups! It was most fun watching a largish group on the north side of the pier. Little ones getting knocked off by big ones, two males barking and occasionally taking near-swipes at each other, listening to the very different sounding barks they made. Some like just what you expect, one that sounded like belching, and one that sounded like that kind of real “ha-ha-ha” kind of laughter.

And one more thing…why would anyone prefer California beaches to Florida ones? Let’s compare:

California — kelp all over the beach, too cold to go swimming even as far south as San Diego (which is as south as it gets)

Florida — seashells and sand dollars all over the beach, warm enough for swimming most of the year

I am of course biased, but for me the choice is clear!