Posts Tagged ‘sea otters’

Monterey

June 28, 2015

Sunday, 28 June 2015

We arrived in Monterey mid-morning, stopped at the Estero park, across from which there is a bury patch. Wandered around for a while, but not a lot of interest in these stones.

Across the street is a playground with an old Lok that the kids love to play on.

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Much to our disgust, it’s closed off until the city figures out how to comply with the California mandatory minimum standards for playground safety. We wandered around the rest of the playground, and were even more disgusted. Not just the nanny state protecting kids from the real world, but parents, too. Chastising a kid because he was climbing up the slide! Fortunately, fortunately, kids have imagination and courage, and will probably find a way to experience the real world despite the best intentions of the suffocator state.

Ask me what I really think about all this!

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We parked near downtown, in a slot that isn’t subject to Sunday restrictions, and walked down to the marina, and eventually to Cannery Row and back.

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Sea otters, above, and harbor seals, below. The seals like to lie out on rocks that are only just submerged, or maybe not quite, and it gives the appearance that they can lie on the water’s surface. Cool!

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At the whale-watching ticket office, a couple of gull chicks up on the roof. Didn’t see mother, but they certainly aren’t equipped to fly yet.

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And a bird rock, complete with pelicans.

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A little further down, a beach where the divers go. Divers in training, that is. There were far more here than we would ever see if they were serious divers. Weekend trainees, all of them. Maybe one in a hundred, or one in a thousand, will get interested enough to take it up as a hobby.

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Jacky’s leg is still giving her trouble, so we stopped to sit here and there. Hungry; I went back to the car and fetched the apples and carrots we had brought from home. Later on, we stopped at a Nob Hill grocery store and  bought calories to tide us over. The best were the no-salt  beet and sweet potato chips. Now we won’t feel guilty about having a real meal tonight.

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The historic old town was having an arts and crafts weekend. Lots of people around. Live entertainment, and the best of it was that the amplifiers were reasonably quiet; we could hear ourselves think.

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Stopped at Britannia Arms pub for a little refreshment, then went on to the Stevenson house motel for check-in. A mile from Cannery Row, 30% less expensive.

There are two Thai restaurants within about two blocks. A good part of town! We ate at the Siamese Bay, and it was fine. Then a stroll to see if we could be irresistibly tempted by something decadent — even tried Trader Joe’s, whose prices are an order of magnitude better than a dessert shop — and manfully resisted.

Vacation begins

June 26, 2015

Friday, 26 June 2015

After a couple of confcalls this morning, we loaded the car full of far more than we would have taken along, had we been traveling by air, and headed out for a week of vacation of some sort. Temperatures predicted to be at or near triple digits inland, so we’ll stay along the coast. The day was mostly overcast, and we often needed sweaters or jackets. Just right!

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First stop, Fitzgerald Marine preserve, Montara, north of Half Moon bay.

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The tide was receding, but still high, so there wasn’t much to see in the way of tide pools.

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I had forgotten about the nasturtiums that grow all along here. Delicious as a light snack!

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From up on the cliff, we had a good view of the sea lions, mostly on the beach but also playing in the water. Life is easy.

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The monterey cypress forest, tinged with red algae.

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Drove to Half Moon Bay, the town, wandered around, went to the Mex place across from the art deco middle school where we always like to eat.

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This is said to be the world’s largest marble run. It wasn’t in operation when we went past, probably worth seeing when opportunity presents.

Over the little hill to the Purisima Creek Redwoods open space preserve, where we wandered along the creek for a few minutes. Jacky has a sore leg, so we’re walking neither far nor fast. It will be a strange vacation if we can’t spend it on our feet.

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Next stop, Bean Hollow state beach, a pebble beach with letterbox tafoni sandstone liberally surrounding the area. A little better tide pooling, but the water is still fairly high.

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And then to Santa Cruz, where we wandered the main drag, found a brew.

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The sign above is dedicated to Loren.

We had a bag of cherries from home, so we ate those, then wandered down to the beach boardwalk and found clam chowder. Out on the wharf, where we saw three sea otters nearby. Unfortunately, the light and distance were inadequate for photography.

Big Sur, Monterey

May 3, 2013

Sunday, 28 April

Before breakfast, we drove to the Cal Poly to see if the arboretum was worth seeing. Don’t know: it’s behind a fence and a hedge, and you pay admission to get in. That would be when it’s open, which it wasn’t, not at 7 AM on a Sunday morning. Well, maybe next time.

After breakfast, we headed out highway 1 for a day of Big Sur country. There was a sign warning of possibly extensive delays because of today’s Big Sur marathon, but we’re not in a big hurry, so we pressed on. First stop, to change drivers, at Ragged Point, where there is a very nice little resort.

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Maybe a place to stay someday when we just want to relax and not do very much.

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The drive through Big Sur country is not that many miles, but it’s slow, with all the curves in the road. We stopped a few times to enjoy the day: chilly, foggy in many places, hazy sunlight.

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Beautiful country. Too bad there really isn’t much to do here, other than drive through it.

By the time we reached Big Sur, the townlet, the sun had won the battle, although it was still cool. Jacky thought a cup of hot chocolate would be good, so we stopped — and then went on, when she saw the prices!

We always like to see ambitious bicycle tourists. The riders were in the restaurant soaking up calories.

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This one is nothing if not practical.

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It was well into afternoon, but north of Big Sur, we ran into the straggles of the marathon. Many miles of creeping along, one amongst a thousand cars. Well, we can’t claim we weren’t warned.

We decided to reward ourselves — maybe — by stopping in Monterey, walking down Cannery Row, getting something to eat.

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This model recognizes the Chinese fishermen who were also part of the old sardine fishing tradition that launched Cannery Row.

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The high point of this stop was seeing a sea otter not far offshore. It’s rare to get close enough for even a moderately good photo. This one is eating the meat from a clamshell (above); the shell itself is visible (below).

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Lying on their backs in the water is of course how they eat without picnic tables.

The traffic report on the radio said the roads from Santa Cruz were congested, so we turned off at Castroville toward 101 and discovered an hour or two of creeping congestion on that route, too. Even with the traffic, though, it was a pretty good micro-vacation.