We were on our way from Crater Lake up to Vancouver. Shortly after joining Highway 101 north along the coast we started seeing road signs every few miles or so. “Don't Miss the Seal Caves – only 100 miles!”. After ten or so signs I said to Anne, what do you reckon? She said “Seal Caves – don't miss out – only 50 miles.”. Thirty miles away they helpfully told us “Seal Caves – with elevator”. Twenty miles away I was so excited I did a little wee. Plans for the day were cancelled. We were in. Deep. Ten miles away it suggested we could see this whole spectacle – with elevator – for a mere 10 dollars each. God bless America.
We came, we paid, we descended. There was the Pacific. There was a cave. There was another couple hungry for all the beauty and truth that nature and 20 bucks can muster.
What was lacking, just a touch, was seals. Not a one. And you know it's not like seals are unknown on our own wee island coast – we've canoed, coast steered, boated, swum and walked by hundreds – but these were Great American Sea Lions, which like have manes and hunt down water buffalo and stuff. Probably. We were disappointed. We were forlorn. We felt let down. Say it ain't so Joe, but a little bit of the American Dream died inside me that day.
Distraught, we took the lift upwards along with a couple from Austin, Texas. We know this because she said – hi we're from Austin, Texas. You? Anne, never one to be outdone said, um, we're from London, Wimbledon – upgrading us by a couple of miles and the odd half million. Oh, the woman said, how lovely, we lived there for several years, didn't we Jeb, whereabouts?
Which isn't the punchline, but should be. The punchline awaited exactly 2 miles further north as we arrived in Newport and our berth for the night. Piped in by the reek and the raucousness of a million seals sunbathing on the decks of the marina. Didn't sleep a wink. Dirty foreign bastards.
Seal cave don't miss it. As it says on its site - only 41 hours and 26 minutes from Chicago.
Sea Lion Caves.