Mystery Of The Baby On The Beach (#349)

It was meant to be an outing to take pictures of my 4th secret beach along the Mendocino Coast.  I was excited to get some photos of a new beach I discovered just 3 miles down the road from Westport Beach where I am working for the summer.

A quite different scenario changed my purpose that day when a baby seal crawled out of the turbulent surf.



Even more astounding was its total lack of wariness in my presence.  As I stood watching from about 30 feet away, this little guy started lumbering toward me.  This was not natural behavior for a wild animal.





Just to be sure it knew I was there, I walked further away.  The baby seal turned and began to follow me.  It was then that I noticed it was wearing what looked like a little, yellow party hat.



The safest and best thing to do for the seal was to leave it.  But not without a heavy heart in caring for its plight.  On my way back to the car, I met some people with dogs and told them about the baby seal down the beach.  They thanked me and said they’d keep their dogs away.



When I returned home I found the Marine Mammal Rescue phone number and called.  The gal who answered quickly identified the baby seal from the “F1” party hat tag as “Spunky Gonzales”, a 4 month old Northern Elephant Seal who had been in their care.

Spunky was released back into the ocean just a week previous at a location 5 miles north of where I found him.   Acclimatized to humans from daily handling and feedings, he was not afraid when he saw me.


Of all the discoveries I thought to make on my new secret beach, Spunky was nowhere near one of them.  It’s a miracle we got to encounter each other.


Best present scenario for Spunky: he’s now out in the ocean, catching lots of scrumptious fishes, finding a seal family to travel with, and heading for summer feeding grounds out in the big blue yonder.

I learned a hard lesson from my experience with Spunky today.  Sometimes we have to turn away from those in obvious need, even when it is a heart-wrenching thing to do,  so they can find their own strength and freedom.

Ever Grateful ~



About TinCanTraveler

Born under a wand'rin' star.... living in my Winnebago, traveling the country, explorer/adventurer, photographer, writer, chi master, massage therapist, retired teacher/counselor, work camper. Grateful for the freedom to do it all. Enjoying life's ultimate lessons of trust, respect, and grace. Inhale love; exhale gratitude.
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11 Responses to Mystery Of The Baby On The Beach (#349)

  1. Sher says:

    What a heartfelt story. Unbelievable. He was probably looking for a hand out from you as this was a norm for him. I wish him well and safe journey. What a wounderous thing to happen. I am glad it happened to you. He looks so precious.

  2. Yes, Annie, heartrending to leave him, but the best decision I agree. Here in the north of Holland close to where I live we have a seal crèche. Lots of baby seals wash in with various ailments and they are nursed back to health and released as Spunky was. It is a great service, so glad they are there.
    I love your best scenario for Spunky and think there is a good chance of it. He looked healthy, and they are keeping track of him, so he should be ok.
    Cheers, Sarah

  3. nomaggsrush says:

    What an amazing experience Annie, very emotional. Lovely that you had your camera and have a permanent souvenir of a wonderful meeting with such a beautiful animal.
    Take care, Maggie

    • A funny thing about that camera, Maggie. After just a couple of photos, the battery went out. But I had my iPhone with me as back-up. It’s true what is said about cameras: the best one is the one you always have with you!

  4. Connie T says:

    It is so cute. It makes me sad that it was all alone. Maybe it got out of the water because of sharks.

    • It was hard to leave him, I am sure he is safe and happy. He looks very healthy and smart enough to escape those sharks! Thank you, Connie!

      On Wed, May 7, 2014 at 10:59 PM, Tin Can Traveler wrote:


  5. Sonel says:

    What a lovely series of photo’s Suzanne! Wow! What an experience that must have been. Seals are such wonderful animals indeed. I am glad you were there to warn the people with their dogs and I wish Speedy just the best of life ahead. 😀

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