I took another walk down to the pier to observe the otters, and was heartened to see how dedicated the mother otters are to their pups. Mother otters are called bitches or sows and the males are called dogs or boars. Whoever came up with those names? They look nothing like pigs, and even less like dogs… The collective noun is bevy or family. The bevy of sea otters in the bay at the marina, appear to be females with their offspring of varying ages, accompanying them. I watched one attentive mother fall sound asleep while her pup became detached from her and started to float slowly away toward the pier. Both of them were on their backs and neither realized that they had become separated. The pup was oblivious and bobbing in the gentle salt water about 10 feet away when I heard the mother start to purr loudly, and hum even louder when there was no response. She then looked up and all around with a startled look on her face in search of her pup. She finally let out a bark of alarm when she realized just how far her baby had floated away. The pup had no idea it was going to be in trouble because it was sound asleep. When the mother reached her sleeping pup, she let out another annoyed bark and grabbed it by the nape of the neck and dragged it rather roughly back to the safety of the group. She disciplined it with a quick bite and a stern shake, and the poor pup let out a shrill squeak while trying to desperately wake up and make sense of the nightmare that was unfolding. When the two of them reached the perimeter of the group, she cuddled it adoringly and stroked its fur, while whispering sweet nothings in its ear. In response to the kindness, it started to nurse appreciatively and peace was once again restored. But it wasn't long before they started to nod off again, in unison, with the sun pouring down like warm butterscotch over their sleepy bodies. This time they both held on to each other tightly and did not let go. I counted 18 mothers with their young pups nursing and being groomed lovingly on their bellies, while the mothers bobbed gently on their backs. All of them were enjoying a quiet afternoon on a beautiful sunny day. The fog didn't roll in until after lunch and it was such an idyllic setting. As I have said before in an earlier post, otters were hunted for their lush fur almost to the point of extinction, and it is so touching to see that the mother otters have discovered the marina as a safe nursery site to raise their young.
Morro Bay has recently developed an awesome bike path that can be used to view the rock from another vantage point. The city is also restoring acre upon acre of dunes alongside the shoreline, and native plants are once again being allowed to grow undisturbed by the trampling of many feet. The snowy plover is hanging on in protected areas as is the beautiful black oyster catcher, cormorants and sandpipers. Humans have had a detrimental impact on this gorgeous planet, but it feels good to see something good being done. The otters are making a comeback and the seals too. The seals and otters eat fish and this has had a major impact on the fisherman. They view these fish eating mammals as competition. Introducing sushi to the world has dramatically increased the consumption of fish. I love to eat sushi, but am trying to have it only on special occasions because as consumers of seafood, we are having a negative impact on healthy levels of fish in the ocean. It is so tricky to find a good balance in life. Seeing so many people out biking, jogging and walking, rather than driving around in a car is a good start. I had a wonderful bike ride this morning. The temperature was fresh and brisk with a slight breeze, and it was perfect weather for all the hill work you must do in Morro Bay, to get from one spot to the next.
Michael, Callie and I had a lovely drive up Hwy 1 and 101 North to Morro Bay this morning. We were able to check into the Cypress Morro Bay RV & Mobilehome Park at Main and Beach St. It is the best located park in town and we are thrilled. Morro Bay State Park and the Strand were all filled up for the weekend but we decided to just take a chance nevertheless and hope for the best. Wow, did we score big! We have clean showers and bathrooms right next door and have finally escaped the wind and sand. It has been brutal the past 4 days. We have sand in everything and the RV is filthy, but in spite of it all, we were still very happy with Jalama State Beach.
After we checked in and cleaned up, we biked over to the State Beach and to Morro Rock and spent a couple of hours biking around. We use to visit here frequently when our daughter, Lara was a young girl. It hasn’t changed all that much except now we have an awesome RV to reside in and don’t have to depend on a motel. Many years ago we became discouraged from visitng because the room rates had gone up so high.
I am settled in for the night after having biked to the Great American Food Company for clam chowder and salad with Michael. We watched the sun set behind Morro Rock and enjoyed the otters, most of them are mothers with their young, of varying ages by their sides, calmly sleeping in the harbor. This is a fairly new turn of events. They were almost all wiped out from the Russian Fur Trade and their numbers have been declining. They aren’t sure why but do know that the mothers are very stressed while raising the young and need protection and a safe place to rest. If they are out in the ocean, they have to wrap themselves up in kelp to keep the young close by and in the harbor, it is quiet and the tidal changes and ocean currents are minimalized. It was nice to see them sleeping comfortably while bobbing in the coastal waters and not afraid of humans anymore.
We may stay for at least 3 nights. We have to take Callie to the vet on Monday if she doesn’t show a complete recovery. She is still coughing and wheezing at night. Maybe it is a foreign body lodged in her throat, asthma, or the tail end of another respiratory infection. There are a few possibilities that I don’t want to consider. I will keep my readers informed.