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A record number of sea otters have flocked to Morro Bay this year. Scientists estimate 30 to 40 adults and up to 20 pups have settled around the embarcadero T-piers this season. (Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

On a day of cozy coastal grays — soft cloud cover, a silver foil-wrap sea — a dozen gray fur balls brought visitors the most comfort.

Bobbing 20 feet from a harbor walkway, the sea otters were part of a record number in California. They once were believed to be as extinct as the dodo bird or the Tyrannosaurus rex.

But there they were, a raft of otters drifting by a line of tourists.

Several pups rested their heads on their mothers. The biggest otter cracked a clam on a flat rock balanced on her chest. They lounged belly-up and, with a thump of their paws, rotated like rolling pins.

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