Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Tuesday: Monterey Bay, Pebble Beach

Monterey/Carmel/Pebble Beach is a great destination. What Jamestown or Plymouth is to the East Coast, Monterey is to the West Coast. So there's miles and miles of beach, tons of history, cool animals, great things to do....(there's even nightlife). Even the city parks and cute little mom-and-pop shops and restaurants are interesting.

Went out on a whale watch boat this morning, Saw several humpbacks. Gave me chills, they were so huge and so amazing. (and so close-- a baby humpback passed about 15 feet from the boat-- imagine seeing a wild whale the size of a schoolbus on the other side of your family room.) My pictures don't do them justice. I was so in awe of them I was often too slow in pressing the shutter.

Not a trip for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, though. Monterey Bay sure isn't Tampa Bay-- the first hour of the trip out to the feeding grounds was one continual roller coaster ride. Should have listened and taken Dramamine beforehand. Didn't get sick, but it was touch and go for about 20 minutes. And I don't **get** motion sick. Left at 10 AM, got back just before 1PM. The marine biologist on the boat was a complete hoot. Not only did she have the skinny on all the animals we saw (whales, seals, otters, murres, cormorants, turtles, etc.) but she was really funny. Told her she needs a new title- "Whale Diva"

Then I drove the 17-mile Drive through Pebble Beach along the coast to Carmel-- Passed the pupping grounds for the seals and sea lions--- Spring is definitely the right time to be here. The whales are migrating, the seals are out in force, the sea otters are reappearing, the deer and their fauns are out in the parks, the Monarch butterflies are passing through, the wildflowers everywhere are gorgeous....

This place is just too cool. Even without San Francisco itself, this would be a powerful and full itinerary. Add in the city to Muir Woods, Point Reyes, PCH, Sonoma, Napa, and now Monterey and Carmel.....I could spend a month here and just barely scratch the surface of stuff to do. And, I'm madly in love with the seals and the otters. They are too cute.

This trip was a gift from me to me---a little self-indulgent, probably, but I have loved every single moment of it, and I'm finding it hard to regret anything about it. I haven't really followed my original itinerary, but the spur of the moment changes (even the occaisional wrong turn) have all been great fun.

Tuesday's pictures are HERE

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