The blogfest continues
31.03.2011 - 01.04.2011
Four blogs in 1 hour and you're thirsty for more? Ok then....
Monterey is famous for 1) John Steinbeck whose book Cannery Row was based on the old dockside canneries here and 2) Robert Louis Stephenson who based the landscape of his book Treasure Island on the local coastline. Today the primary attraction is the Aquarium, our third of the tour. I'd rate it at No 1, but Katie thinks Underwaterworld in Australia pipped it to the post. The jellyfish were the highlight. See the pics.
In the afternoon we headed south a little to Point Lobos State Reserve. A lovely little national park where trails take you out on to the headland to watch the crashing waves and spot for Sea Otters (x4) Dolphins (x20+) and Seals.
The Park Ranger kindly lent us a pair of binoculars in return for our car keys. At least we assumed it was the Park Ranger - half way round the trail it occurred to me it could be a nice little scam. It wasn't thankfully. We also got to stroke a otters fur. Apparently they have over a million hairs per square inch. An otter has more hair in its right nostril than you have on the whole of your body. Fact.
We finished the day driving south down the Big Sur road to Rocky Point, a cafe set atop rocks looking out over the Pacific. We watched the sunset (into cloud not the sea) and drove back to Monterey, again too late for any restaurants to be open - 08:30 or something ridiculous - so we stopped for pizza and sushi.
The last whole day of our short but long road trip and the final stint up the coast to San Francisco. But before we get to that, we were all aboard the Sea Wolf II for a spot of Whale Watching.
Yep, this time of year around 2000 grey whales are heading back up north from the warm waters and mating season in Mexico - like Spring Break for whales. We chugged out of the marina past a couple of playful sea otters and a cacophony of seals.
Once on the open sea we soon came across a huge school of dolphin up close to the boat. Fantastic. The highlight of the trip I reckon.
But we did not go home whale-less. Towards the end of the trip a spout was spotted off the starboard bow and so we sped over to find a couple of greys pottering about working out how to negotiate a particularly deep sea trench. Not the most spectacular of nature's sights, basically a couple of grey blobs popping up, blowing some air and disappearing (see below). But hey, seeing a couple of whales live in the wild goes down as a very special experience that we were lucky to have.
So we waved goodbye to Monterey and took a beautiful coastal drive up past Santa Cruz and on to Pacifica, the last town before you hit San Francisco proper. We stopped in at a local Mexican Restaurant to tick another box - when in California, eat Mexican. As Pacifica didn't offer anywhere cheap, we plodded on and found a no frills motel not too far from San Francisco airport. We dumped bags, grabbed a beer and watched the end of When Harry met Sally.