Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A gray day on the coast

Its been raining on the wet coast.  That’s not really news – more like a statement of fact. 

Marilyn had noticed a sign on the way into Florence advertising some seal cave somewhere on the coast.  When she first suggested we go there the seals were 11 km south of us but they in fact turned out to be 11 miles north of us.  The 11 was definitely correct.  So this afternoon we braved the rain and she drove us up the coast to the seal cave. 

Evidently there is some volcanic fault line running through pre-historic lava flows which has allowed the ocean to wear away a cave into the rocky coastline.  Some old dude around the turn of the 19th century discovered the cave – apparently the seals had already discovered it – and turned it into a tourist trap.  The original access was down a wooden staircase that entered the cave near where I took the picture of the lighthouse.  That staircase is long gone, replaced by a stainless steel elevator that whisks you through the rock to sea level. 

When you step out of the elevator its hard to say which is more overpowering, the smell of fishy bodies or the racket of barking seals.  We’re not sure it was worth the 12 bucks apiece that they charged for the privilege but it was kind of cute.  Apparently its been a family business for over 75 years now.  The original partners faded away and 2 partners ended up owning the place.  Then they both got washed into the ocean one stormy day and only one of them survived.  That guy evidently lost interest – perhaps his saltwater bath had some impact on his decision – and grandma (the wife of the drowned partner) ended up running the joint.  She didn’t have all the chainlink seal control fencing that is in place today so apparently she carried her broom with her when she conducted tours. 

We’re here for a few more days.  On Friday we’re going to head north again, taking a couple of days to move to Anacortes where we’ll spend the next two weeks, or longer if the weather doesn’t smarten up.


Singing Land Cruiser said...

I see you are spreading your winnings around the whole west coast. LOL. Even the seal got a little! You two keep safe. M&C

Anonymous said...

You happen to be there at the right time. Some folks go down and never see the seals. Always ask the people coming back up if the seals were there, as the employees are not allowed to say, but will still take your entry fee (no refund).