Elephant seal

These ladies (and gentlemen) shed their skin gradually, lying near the beach in the summer sunshine all day long and looking very contented. Even care-free.

These ladies can weigh a couple of tons. They don’t move very fast, and aren’t usually aggressive when they’re not male and it’s not the mating season (you can tell the dangerous testosterone-addled characters by their long, trunk-like noses which give them their name).

Ungainly on land, they change character completely as soon as they return to the water. Very elegant. Very Contessa’s Party.

The Falkland Islands, December 1999