Protected by the Mexican Government in 1922, Northern Elephant Seals were on the verge of extinction being sought for their blubber, used in Quilliq stone oil lamps of the time.
With populations now recovering, rookeries can now be found along the remote Pacific Coast islands of the Baja Peninsula northward to California’s Point Reyes and Canada.
Huge bull males can reach upwards of 18 ft in length, up to 6000 pounds!
I was so excited to photograph these amazing creatures,
in this image a Bull pops his head up from a crowd of females.
Visiting this remote site was not easy… located just north of the 28th parallel, over 60 miles off the Baja coastline, the best access to the island was aboard a Douglas DC-3 taildragger that flew over from Ensenada.
Upon landing, transport of our gear was arranged with a local fisherman to a remote campsite near the breeding rookery, we had two days on this amazing playa.
Looking back at the shoot, seems we were crazy to get as close a we did, I remember the incredible noise that the large colony made through the night and a lesson learned that camping upwind was certainly less stinky!
Captured in February 1987 on Kodachrome 25, Nikon F3, Nikkor 80-200mm
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