Roger and I road tripped over to Bean Hollow State Beach for a bit today. I clearly do not understand the tides. We were there pretty close to high tide, yet the water level was considerably lower than it was the last time we were there at low tide. I need to figure that one out.
We then happened upon Ao Nuevo State Reserve and decided to check out the elephant seals. It is molting season and quit the group of juvenile seals were hanging out on the beach generally making a big ruckus. The park has a nice set of paths that lead to observation decks. On hand were knowledgeable staff to answer any questions.
It was really cool. And surprising. In particular, I have yet to see an Animal Planet or Discovery Channel special discuss exactly how bad large groups of animals smell. Wow! Smelled like a salty pig farm.
But, stench aside, it was totally cool. Roger found about a dozen ladybugs and a couple of wooly worms on the 1.6 mile hike to the observation area.
If you want to clamor around the rocks along the shore to check out the sea life, including the barnacles, you will want to go at low tide. Given that the tides vary by numerous feet along the Northern CA shore, the window of low tide tends to be pretty small.