Member Comments


Sheila Feeney


August, 2000

Such a splendid recommendation! Earlier this summer we exchanged some e-mails about places to stay and stuff to do in your part of the world and we used your recommendations.

The Castle Inn and the keepers were beyond kind. They loaned me their binoculars for wildlife spotting, which were very much appreciated. Diane at the Castle Inn had forewarned me that we would have to stay far away from the e. seals and look at them from a fence, but there was no one enforcing the distance (which actually is too conservative; you can’t see them at all). Frustrated by the distant sight lines, the tourists and amateur flash monkeys scampered down way TOO close for the animals’ well being. One idiot was there with his Rottweiler, and a couple other people brought dogs that ran around the seals! No wonder only 13 were left on the beach.

The point I would make is you can unexpectedly have a very gratifying seal love-in right in front of the Castle Inn, (and, possibly, elsewhere) if you’re willing to settle for the Harbor variety.

They’re not laying in petting distance right on the sand, as are the Elephants and the seals in the Galapagos, but that is, no doubt, a good thing for all concerned. (Now watch: Neither of us will ever be able to book a room there again!) Also, anywhere in Cambria during the summer, advance reservations are de rigeueur.

I can’t imagine a resort going in any where as proposed in the San Simeon-Piedras Blancas area. It was an object of some discussion with us on the trip as to how the coastline was allowed to remain so undeveloped and unexploited, and how the few people who had beach front homes on the coast were able to obtain them. In New York, there are almost no bodies of water the public can access unsupervised because the private sector has snatched up almost ever inch of beach (freshwater and non). The beaches that are public are so insanely crowded and loud as to defeat the purpose of visiting them. The point is you really, truly have a treasure that I wish you earnest good luck in preserving. On the bright side, everyone I met out there – including a military veteran who was a missile specialist -said they were going to vote for candidates who had the best poisitons on environmental issues, so perhaps there’s hope. (What those beaches need are some nice big OIL DERRICKS!!)

I actually found the harbor seal scene way cooler than the elephant seals. The elephant seals were only 13 poor harassed creatures in number when I arrived, surrounded by 100s of tourists. The harbor seals, on the other hand, plopped themselves down on the rocks right in front of the hotel every single night and were just glorious in their molting coats and otter-like antics. The barking and clapping tourists, however, deserved to be extinct.

I didn’t get all the way up to Monterey, but had a great hike in Julia Pfeiffer (Burns in Big Sur) State Park, splendid little hikes nearer Cambria (real live snakes!) and an all around great time: The highlight was helping to save a seagull who went after a fisherman’s bait and got impaled with two hooks and was actually reeled in through the air by the poor confused guy who “caught” him. Very exciting emergency veterinary medicine right on the pier! Anyway, you gave us a great tip, we had a great time in your great state, and I’m forever grateful! What a wonderful state you have!

Good luck on your work and saving the environment. If any more people use the Pelican Network, your circulation will rival a Hearst paper!

Sheila Feeney

Sheila is a journalist in New York



San Simeon

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