This particular kayaking adventure was another new experience for me. Prior to the beautiful west coast of California (I still generally think of the west coast as Sarasota or Naples, FL), I had kayaked both inland waters and the Florida Keys so I understood the importance of tides, wind, currents, boat wakes, and wildlife. Whitewater rafting prepared my husband and me for the 55°F water, and we gladly donned the less than flattering splash gear. The plastic-like jacket and pants are not lined or particularly comfortable and don't breathe like the popular gym clothing so readily available these days, but don't try and tough it out bare skinned! These clothes WILL keep you dry and much warmer than any sweatshirt or rain jacket. Bring/borrow water shoes too. Trust me.
|Me about to head out on a very windy day (note the splash guard clothing).|
Now for the cool stuff!
One of the best things about this mini-expedition was the plethora of local wildlife, and I'm not just talking sea gulls. In addition to gulls and pigeons, there were plenty of sea otters, harbor seals, California sea lions, other bird species I do not pretend to know, and even a few large geese. Here comes the educational part of today's blog:
|Harbor seal sitting on rocks just below the surface of the water|
|Sea lions - ear flaps & long flippers are easy to spot|
A very good shortcut to understanding this better is http://www.dolphinencounters.com/education-sealionvsseal.php. I was very happy to have written my descriptors prior to fact checking, and still be accurate (yay!). This particular site also credits their information to Sea World and National Geographic, so we are all on the same page.
Just for fun, here is the angry pair of geese that were not at all pleased about our exploration of Monterey Bay. The male is particularly irritated as my husband gleefully crept the kayak near "their" rocks. As I was in the front of the kayak... not cool, man.
Finally we did maneuver our way around both the New and Old Fisherman's Wharfs. I now clearly understand the meanings of terms like Cannery Row, wharfs, and other familiars that get tossed around small oceanside towns regularly. Below is a photo of the REAL Fisherman's Wharf at Monterey. This is not a public attraction so much as a location for commercial fisherman and charters to drop off their haul for processing. The number of sea lions using the lower structures of the wharf was astounding! The photos, unfortunately, were not. The animals were shrouded in shadows and we dared not venture too close for a myriad of safety reasons that included the choppy waves, unfamiliar currents, and oh yeah, potentially aggressive bulls.
|The REAL Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey Bay|
As just one of many adventures had on this California trip, we covered far more territory that will be coming soon to this medium. Upcoming is a look at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and its new jellyfish exhibit, Big Sur, and the redwoods of Pfeiffer, waterfall included. If you want to share this particular adventure yourself, I can highly recommend the organization we worked with, Adventures by the Sea. They also had bicycle rentals and other fun options in addition to kayaks. Very cool and relaxed staff despite the fact that we were just another pair of tourists, and we were treated respectfully like locals and talked about local waters and wildlife. Feel free to check them out!
Stay tuned! And regardless of the cold or rain, just remember it's only water!!