Even though angry clouds threatened, we decided to take our chances and explore La Jolla last Sunday. As often occurs on our unplanned outings, we happened upon a priceless tableau — harbor seal mommas and their pups basking on Casa Beach.
Before we saw them, we had already delighted in the natural beauty of Shell Beach and the bounty of delicate flowers edging the cliffside walkway. We climbed down stairs to the shore. Frothy waves crashed on rocks draped in emerald green seaweed. Unexpected sunbeams danced on the crystalline blue water. And dozens of white pelicans soared in formation overhead.
Back on the walkway, we caught sight of crowds peering over the edge onto a beach strewn with harbor seals, from young pups to grand adults. A sign informs visitors that the pupping season runs from December to May, females give birth to one pup a year, and Casa Beach is the only mainland harbor seal rookery in southern California. At birth, pups typically weigh 20 pounds, can swim and are completely dependent on their mothers for survival.
For a closer look, we walked out onto the seawall. My heart swelled at the sight of a pup riding piggyback on its mother through the waves. The water was so clear we could watch adult seals frolic in the depths. I could have stayed for hours, but we sensed that other beautiful views awaited us.
We followed the walkway from Casa Beach to the Underwater Park and beyond. We feasted our eyes on seals, pelicans, cormorants, and cliffs stretching to La Jolla Shores Beach in the distance. Everywhere we turned, hundreds of other visitors were enjoying the splendid natural scene.
If we had let the angry clouds turn us away, we would have missed this glorious experience. Here’s to accepting “what is” and letting it surprise us!