Tag: northern California

The Elephant Seals of Año Nuevo

The year was 1987 and I was searching for a place where black abalone were largely undisturbed so I could complete my dissertation. The island was the perfect location: isolated, difficult to access, federally protected, and surrounded by seal- and shark- infested waters. During my first low tide on the island I was ecstatic: blacks were common and it was the perfect place to conduct a study but there were elephant seals everywhere.

The Hunt for Monster Red Abalone

Twenty feet down, murky, dark, swarming with kelp, surge pulling me back and forth, fighting to stay in place. Feeling my oxygen slipping away with my arms buried deep in a crevice as I try to reach a huge abalone. I look up and there is even larger ab just inches away. Still time. Re-position, slip the iron in,…