Friends sell soups for elephant seals

Did you know that the Central Coast elephant seal rookery is the only one in the world where viewing is a brief walk away at an overlook?

And when Evelyn and David Dabritz graduated from the first docent class in 1997, visitors could wander among the herds?

Or that in a sprint between humans and 3,000- to 5,000-pound elephant seals, the seals win every time?

Did you know that the males come ashore in November and fight for their turf?

And that in December, the females arrive pregnant, join to protect their bull and harem, birth their pups by January, nurse about 28 days, mate again during nursing and then leave their pups to fend for themselves?

And while they’re on the beach, they are fasting and losing a third of their fur (molting)? Or that for the bloodiest battles, February offers the best ringside matches?

These are just a few facts that docents with the Friends of the Elephant Seal learn to share about the rookery just north of Hearst Castle.

Training begins again Oct. 1. Meanwhile, A Grand Ole Soupabration is the friends group’s newest fundraiser, scheduled for noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Cayucos Creek Barn.

“Chefs from Big Sky Café, Et Voila, Lido, Linn’s of Cambria, Robin’s, Mee Heng Low and The Singing Kitchen hope Food Network’s Chef Rahm Fama will declare their soup entries the best,” said Charmaine Coimbra, the event’s chairwoman.

Fama will be judging along with Chef Dakota Weiss, executive chef of W in Westwood.

“The friends (group) wanted a fresh, unique event,” Coimbra said. “We wanted to hold it in the hub where our docents reside, so Cayucos is in the middle.

“Many are seniors, so we wanted a daytime event and affordable at $40,” she added. “Kids 10 and under are free.

“We’re a teaching organization, so we thought we’d teach about food and wines of the Central Coast,” Coimbra said. “We have some unique auction items as well, like dinner by Chef Leonard (Gentieu) on the Papagallo (yacht) in Morro Bay.”

Coimbra grew up in a family active in politics.

Fundraising events became her second nature.

She did public relations for the Antelope Valley Fair, producing one event after another.

When she moved to the Central Coast, she had already decided docent training would be part of her retirement career.

She offered to help with fundraising and got the job as chairwoman, plus the challenge of a new friends’ group event. She’s up to the task.

She’s also a writer, formerly for the Antelope Valley News. She still writes a blog, Charmaine’s Muse Pallet.

For tickets and information about the elephant seal Soupabration event, email fes@elephantseal.org, or visit www.elephantseal.org or the group’s Facebook page at http://snipr.com/elephantseals.

Contact Judy Salamacha at judysalamacha@gmail.com or 801-1422.