[singlepic id=252 w=320 h=240 mode=watermark float=left] Today, my beloved Laguna Beach showed me her definition of Earth Day, and I’ve built this slide show to share it with you.

For starters, it was the release of two sea lions after they’d been nurtured back to health by the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. More than 100 people trouped down to Crescent Bay to say goodbye to sea lions who had miraculously doubled in size since their arrival at the PMMC – Arno and Oliver. The event also honored recently passed (and well loved) board member, Arno Chauvel, who found his own way off this little planet of ours on Tuesday. His wife, Susie, was on hand to open the cage for the sea lion that bore his namesake, Arno.

Now, I’ve been on hand for Seal releases, but I’ve never seen a Sea Lion release. All I’ve got to say – these boys made tracks like two 10-year-olds heading for the grilled hamburgers at the potluck picnic. They didn’t need any prodding. In fact, they moved so quickly, I could hardly capture the boys in motion. But the two buddies hung together, all the way down the beach, into the surf, and onward to their new lives.

Then, back at work at my desk in front of my ever-changing ocean, and the California Gray Mama whales and their babies started trolling through the bay beneath. Granted, I’ve seen a few here and there, but today’s toll was the largest number I’ve seen since I moved here – at least 10 or 12 hung out in the bay today, gobbled up some plankton, and cozied up to the beach to rid themselves of some pesky barnacles.

Californa Grays are ginormous. I’ve zeroed in on these whales in the photos so much that you have no comparative size to see how really ginormous they are! The females are actually larger than the males (go girls!), at about 45-50 feet in length. Their pups, of course, show up on this planet at about 15 feet in length and, given that their moms’ milk is 53% fat (as compared to human milk at 2% fat), they grow rather, ehrm, quickly.

As large as these Grays are, they are as sinuous and fast moving as the Loch Ness Monster. I know these aren’t the greatest photos, but you’ll see Mom and pup hanging out in this slide show. I do love seeing the gentle eyes on these creatures.

Then, of all the strangest things, ’round about 4:00, a California Sea Lion decided to waddle on up the beach below for a little sunnin’ action. I see seals and sea lions do this about once every two or three years. So, I closed this little Earth Day slide show with some beautiful shots of a REAL California girl. She spent a couple hours on the beach, then turned and headed back into her waters.

I can’t think of anything more fitting today – Earth Day – than Laguna Beach offering a few snapshots of what she knows and loves about Earth Day . . . because, in the end, it just wouldn’t be Earth without our lovely ocean serving as her support system.

Here’s the gallery. Easiest to do: Click on the first photo for a manual slideshow. (The first 4 photos will be a little slow to load.) Be sure to click Page 2, as well. [nggallery id=11]

© 2011, Diane Armitage, www.LagunaBeachBest.com
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