Walking back to my car at Point Keen Viewpoint, I was disappointed to not see any seals. I’d been looking around the coastline for about half an hour that morning and didn’t see a single one. Then as I was about to leave, I heard some loud grunts. Asleep on the boardwalk in the shade were two very large seals. These are southern fur seals. Keeping my distance and zooming with the camera lens rather than getting close, I was able to capture this photograph. Just as the seal opened his big eyes. Clear communication from the seal that I was standing close enough.
Blue whale Skeleton in Natural History Museum
One of the largest and most impressive specimens in London’s Natural History museum is this blue whale skeleton, nicknamed Hope. Installed in 2018, it is 82 feet (25 metres) long and weighs about 4.5 tonnes. Having been to London half a dozen times I am embarrassed to say this year was the first time I’ve visited this museum. Which is free and well worth a visit. I had planned to grab the shot of the whale and move onto my next location but once I had my picture I explored. I ended up spending a few hours exploring the museum and it is incredible. The museum has been there since 1881. There is more than a days worth of things to see and explore. This photograph was taken from the second floor. I like the way the morning sun was shining through the glass ceiling and the stained glass window. The white statue at the back of the main hall is of Charles Darwin.
California Sea Lions, Pier 39
In the past I have seen a few California Sea Lions at zoos but one my first visit to California I wanted to make sure I saw them in the wild. On my first day in San Francisco I walked down to Pier 39. This is a very popular tourist attraction filled with gift shops and sea food restaurants. Getting to the docks first thing in the morning meant there were only a couple of other tourist and the morning sunlight looked great on the sea lions. The photograph above shows less than half a dozen of the seals but there were hundreds. The Marine Mammal Store and Interpretive Center monitor the sea lion population each day and there have been as many as 1700 on the docks at one time. Whilst the smell was particularly unpleasant I spent at least an hour just watching them.
Swimming with Stingrays
Aside from cycling and hiking I did little else in my time in Bora Bora, which is popular for diving and many other aquatic activities. I was fortunate enough to go on one boat trip on the lagoon. There were two guides and only three passengers on the boat. It was the best day of my brief time in French Polynesia. We went snorkelling a few times during the day in various parts of the lagoon. Even swimming with baby sharks. Here we were feeding and snorkelling with stingrays. There were dozens of them and they were extremely friendly.