Have you ever found yourself in a conundrum about which direction to go?
If you don’t already know about me, I’m a nature and wildlife photographer. I love photographing animals.
Well, here’s my conundrum.
My RV is parked about 2 hours from Yosemite and about 2 hours from the coast (Monterey Bay) where there is promise of sea otters. With a feeling that I would love to photograph wildlife, in particular a new one for me, I take the bait for the coast.
When I took off in the morning, I kept telling myself not to be disappointed if I didn’t find them.
Well, after driving 2 hours, I am happy to say that I found them!
I drove around town a little and got the lay of the land and THEN I found them! While it wasn’t the nicest day with clouds threatening rain at any moment, I proceeded anyways.
Why would I pass this opportunity up? Plus, a few clouds actually work as a diffuser for photography.
Let’s just say it felt like I found my own real life aquarium and I was grinning from ear and ear. I couldn’t believe I was really seeing sea otters.
Getting to observe sea otters playing, sleeping, swimming, fishing, eating, enjoying life, walking on the sand and quite simply, being sea otters was simply amazing.
I spent over 3 hours photographing these awesome animals and I was so happy I did. The only thing that stopped me was the rain. It started as a drizzle, but it turned into a lot more. That’s when I turned in.
Have to keep the camera equipment safe, right?
Did you know the sea otter is one of the few mammal species on Earth to use a tool to help it hunt and feed? Pretty fun to watch him break open those clam shells with a rock or his teeth.
If you head out to photograph sea otters, I highly recommend renting a kayak or bringing your own (if you own one). You can be right next to them! I will do that the next time, so I get to see these little guys up closer. With the impending rain, I didn’t want to take the chance with my camera equipment.
My other suggestions for having fun with these guys.
Be on the lookout for loners. They might be going out to feed and enjoy themselves. That’s how I was fortunate enough to spend a good half hour with one individual as he dove for food and came up to eat his treasures. I loved how he put the clam shell on his chest as he ate. So adorable!
If you’re on the lookout for that one individual finding his lunch, you might be lucky enough to catch him with a clam shell on his belly too. He would dive and come up with a rock and a clam shell. I actually got to watch him break open the shell and enjoy his meal. These were no small clam shells either.
Be patient. Pick a rock or place to sit with your camera and you’re bound to have one swim by at some point. You have might even get lucky and have several come near you to play or groom themselves.
Did you know that a sea otter must eat about 25% of its body weight in a day to support its high metabolism!?!?! That means if you spend enough time out there you should get lucky and find one eating!
Eating a clam
After watching the one sea otter enjoy his lunch, he eventually took off. It was about then the rain started and I took my cue to head back to the car. Little did I know some of the others started crawling up onto the beach. Just when I thought that they couldn’t be any cuter I discover them on the beach! They were rolling in the sand, grooming and even some napping in there.
upside down on the beach
Fun Fact about California Sea Otters
Did you know its fur is the densest of any animal on Earth—an estimated 1 million hairs per square inch. Unlike its fellow marine mammals, it has no blubber to keep it warm. It also must constantly groom itself to keep all those hairs clean. Learn more fun facts here. I also enjoyed reading about sea otters on the Defenders of Wildlife page.
Have you seen sea otters in the wild? Did you have fun?