Just a few miles north of San Simeon, California, islands of black basalt stained white from bird guano rise from the Pacific. Named Piedras Blancas or White Rocks by Spanish mariners, these rocks have long hosted large colonies of cormorants and other seabirds. But what most visitors come to Piedras Blancas to see are the thousands of northern elephant seals that rest and breed on the sandy beaches.
As I arrived at a lookout, a woman sneeringly commented on how damnably lazy the seals were. What she didn't know is that elephant seals have one of the most extreme lifestyles known and bloody well deserve their rest.
Female elephant seals spend much of their lives at sea and come to the colony at Piedras Blancas to give births to their pups and breed. They may spend much of their time resting here, but when at sea, they dive continuously, both day and night, and can reach depths of more than a mile.
- Steven Holt
Continuous Deep Diving in Northern Elephant Seals
2012 UC Santa Cruz Tracking Study