Not such an early start needed for today's sea kayaking so we got to breakfast - muffins, bagels & fruit. We then headed back into Monterey to find Montery Bay Kayaks HQ for our 9am sea kayaking tour. After a bit of confusion as to where the car park was we got there before the store opened and stood apart from the school group who were there too. We also met the two couples who were doing the tour with us. We got in, met our guide and got into our wetsuits and had a brief "kayaking 101" briefing before getting on the water and heading out. Felt odd having un-feathered paddles but soon got used to them.
Our tour was a four hour, 5.5 mile, trip through Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary and over to Lover's Point* and back after a brief stop for snacks (*shortened from Lover's of Jesus Point, although we had all assumed the more "interesting" interpretation!). On the way we again passed the sea lions on the harbour wall as well as in the water and a few a sea otters. Some of the sea lions seemed intrigued by us and the otters mostly ignored us.
Chavaunne took her old camera so neither of our nice ones were in danger of a soaking & she's let me steal a few photos for this blog. We also passed through several areas of kelp, although sadly less kelp than there should be due to an increase in grazing by sea urchins, whose numbers have soared following the collapse of the local sea star population following a viral outbreak.
Annoyingly this was the only day we forgot to put on, or take, sunscreen with us as the day began very overcast. The result is not surprising, we both suffered sunburn, although thanks to the wetsuits and windbreakers the burn was confinded to out feet and faces leaving interesting patterns!
Once back at Monterey we headed back to the hotel for the first & only lunch we had sat at a table! Bread, cheese, salad & avocado - same ingredients as out picnic but off plates! After lunch we headed down the coast to Point Lobos State Reserve where we wandered along most of the coast trail before cutting back through the middle to return to the car. Called the "greatest meeting of land and water
in the world"Point Lobos is considered a crown jewel in the California state park system and it's easy to see why. The relatively small reserve contains a variety of woodland, open, coastal and marine habitats supporting lots of wildlife. A network of trails of variable accessibility, from smooth wheelchair friendly tracks to steep, uneven trails, criss-cross the reserve making it easy to get around. The downside is that being so close to Monterey it's a very popular day trip, not so great if you want a quieter trek. Although the car park was full when we got there there were a few spaces left along the road and many people seemed to be finishing off their visit so the trails we followed weren't too busy, although they were far from empty. we were lucky enough to join a small group of visitor watching harbour seal mums and pups on the beach below. A couple of volunteer guides were on hand to tell us how old the various pups were, from one that was a few days old to one who was being weaned. We again saw more sea otters, including one wrapped in kelp snoozing and a kit suckling from
mum. We also saw Anna's hummingbird, California quail & birds of prey we couldn't 100% identify from their silhouettes! We also had to spend a lot of time avoiding the poison oak... this would be a theme whilst walking near the coast!
After a quick change at the hotel we headed out to Pacific Thai Cuisine that we'd walked past the night before and liked the look of. They had several veggie options but I opted for the Pra-Ram Tofu which was delicious!
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