Some of California’s other state parks now have so-called environmental campsites, which offer a primitive camping experience. While they are often only a short distance from roads, and some limited facilities may be provided, the sites are normally out of sight of other campsites. For more information contact the California Department of Parks and Recreation, P.O. Box 942896, Sacramento, CA 94296; (916)322-7000.


Seals will also eat squid, octopus and other cephalopods, as well as crustaceans, marine organisms and even small quantities of molluscs when they can find them. Octopus also eat crustaceans and one small octopus can wipe out a whole reefofshellfish in no time at all. In recent years there has been a huge increase in octopus numbers: ten years ago a diver might only see about three octopus in something like 200 dives in a year, but these days they may see three on every dive, and creel fishermen were actually catching up to ten in a string of pots every day. That really should put the creel fisherman on good terms with the seal. In the past, I have seen seals chomping into octopus on the surface, surrounded by squawking flocks of seagulls trying to grab titbits that had broken off. Another seal we saw looked really comical as an octopus had wrapped its tentacles around the seal’s head and it was shaking it vigorously from side to side in an attempt to loosen the octopus’s grip. On other occasions I have seen them violently beating an octopus off the rocks before eating it. It was also amusing to watch a seal deliberately stalking two lobsters underneath an overhanging rock ledge off Knavestone: sadly for the seal, both lobsters escaped. The teeth of the seal consist of long canines to catch prey, incisors to cut off flesh and molars with cusps which are used to hold struggling prey. They catch, tear and swallow their diet in lumps, rather than hold, bite and chew, but when they feed on hard-shelled crustaceans, the points of their teeth wear away and the animal eventually dies of starvation.

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