I went to the Central Coast for a few days, a little trip before school. Mom went with me obviously. We went to Cambria, a place we both absolutely love but haven't visited in a few years. We also drove up the PCH towards Monterey. It was a decision between taking the PCH on the northern drive or taking it home. Taking it home was completely out, we were coming home on a Sunday and the PCH on a Sunday is evil! So we took it up to Cambria and again up to Monterey.
Cambria was lovely as always. We used to go there every year since I was a child but after my dad died it felt strange going. We really wanted to go so we did, and we enjoyed it. Cambria doesn't change all that much. It's a little coastal town of about 2,000 people with cute shops, good restaurants, and lovely inns. It was obvious the economy hit Cambria, some of the shops closed earlier then usual and all the inns on the coast had vacancies, you never see a vacancy on Moonstone Beach Dr., especially at this time of year!
Oh well, there was still tourists so we weren't afraid for Cambria. We spent our time going to the little shops that we always go to and I spent the other half of our time there on Moonstone Beach. I love combing that beach, it has a wonderful range of gorgeous beach rocks, drift wood, shells, and moonstones! I have a huge collection of all of those things. Dad and I used to beach comb together and compare our findings, it wasn't the same. It was still enjoyable though. Sitting there sifting through the rocks and listening to the surf and smelling the sea. The seals were on the rocks and the otters were in the kelp as always, it's so peaceful there!
After a day and a half in Cambria we headed north towards Monterey. We stopped at the elephant seal beach as well as Julia Pfeffier State Park. Omg, if you ever have a chance to see that park, go! It's my second time there and it's gorgeous! There's a path that leads to the coast. You get a fabulous view of a waterfall going right onto the beach! It's a protected beach, you aren't allowed down there at all. In fact, because of how remote and inassasible it is the only safe way to get down there would be kayak, but that isn't allowed either. There were some idiots scaling the very steep desecent down to that beach. They scaled the barrier right next to the "DO NOT CROSS BARRIER" sign and started down...in flip flops! I wouldn't feel sorry at all if they, at best got poison ivy poisoning, and at worst break a leg! I would feel sorry actually, but only for the park. State and Federal parks are in enough trouble without some idiots suing them! Bah
From there we headed north again. The PCH is the coastal highway that spans from Canada to Mexico, and it covers some amazing country. We've drive the PCH from LA to Seattle once, amazing. Big Sur is the most beautiful stretch of the PCH, at least for California. The ocean crashing against the cliffs, lovely!
We got up to Monterey. We spent a few days in Monterey as well. We spent a day going to Moss Landing to go whale watching. It was lovely! I think it was the best whale watching trip I've been on so far. We saw two transient pods of orcas who joined up at one point (transient pods are not that big). At one point we saw the adults teaching the young to hunt, they were zooming after a few seals. We missed the kill but I did see an albatross make off with some flesh so obviously they were successful. At one point a few orcas actually swam under the boat! Omg, it was amazing. They were so close! I love orcas, love them. They are my favorite marine mammal, and possibly my favorite marine animal. I've seen them in the wild a few times but it never fails to leave me breathless and emotional. This was probably my best experience with them.
After that we saw a large pod of risso dolphins, I'm not sure if any of those photos came out since they were determined to outswim us. We also saw a massive flock of sweetwaters, they're in the thousands at that time of year. We also saw a bola bola, a sunfish! Lastly, we saw some humpbacks. At one point a humpback surfaced right next to the boat, it was so close! We got a whiff of humpback breath, absolutely disgusting. Blargh!
After five hours of whale watching we headed in. I loved this company, it's a family run whale watching tour in the tiny community of Moss Landing. They undersell so the boat is never at full capacity, that makes a great experience for us. They also stopped to pick up any trash in the ocean, they actually practice what they preach. I'll use them again for sure!
The next day we went to the aquarium, it's been a few years since I've been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, it was enjoyable.
Mom also let me go to a few fossil sites I looked up. I spent a bit at each site and I found a few fossils! At one point we didn't have enough time so I just chisled some shale out, I didn't open it there but I'll check it later this week. I did find a trilobite at one site that I wlil be taking in to get properly fixed up for display. At another location I found a fossil shell that still had some of the original shell coating on it. It wasn't at the same site and it's not the same geological time period, not at all! It was possibly a few million years old. Eee! ^_^
Female elephant seal
Male elephant seal!
These were taken north of Cambria :)
I'll post more later...and I'll post more UK photos in a few days.