5 Days in Monterey, Days 3-5

If you haven’t read my previous post here, you may want to dig into that one first. If you’ve already read it, I’ve updated it with a few more photos from Malcolm’s phone. On days 3 – 5, we went whale watching and saw about 30 humpbacks. We kayaked in the bay the next day and explored the famous 17-mile-drive.

Armed with coffee and delectable danishes from Captain and Stokers (we went there every single morning), we headed to our rendezvous point at the fisherman’s wharf.

Only five minutes had passed when we started seeing blow spouts which is how our guides counted them. I stood right next to them so I could absorb all their seafaring information. So interesting! Because of the formation of the land and some other things I couldn’t hear, Monterey Bay has an abundance of fish which means there’s an abundance of wildlife!

We spotted several seals, sea otters, sea lions and many different bird types. They informed us we wouldn’t stop for those, however. The main event was the gorgeous, majestic humpback whales. And our guides singing old sea shanties. I tipped them because damn, did they commit to that performance.

This is a mama and her calf shown above. See how the second whale’s fin, the one closest, is smaller? That’s the bebe (read in a Moira Rose voice)! Humpback whales form transient groups when it suits their purposes and then they disband and go back to doing their own thing after a few hours. Sometimes aggressive males attempt to force themselves onto the females which results in injury to the baby, sometimes even crushing the baby to death. When that happens, other males will show up to help protect them. Now that’s my kind of whale.

At one point the mama and the calf jumped out of the water together in tandem. I immediately began sobbing… loudly 🙂 I love animals, hah!

We witnessed many tail and fin slaps on the water’s surface. At one point, we spotted a whale who jumped out of the water, spun around in the air, and belly flopped back into the sea. At this point, I was so happy the boat moved so quickly because I was beside myself and could not contain my happy tears. Tears of happiness, yes. Tears of sadness for these gorgeous creatures and their struggles mostly made by man.

I asked about consent of the whales to be watched, because of course I did. The sailor told me the whales don’t seem to mind boats if the boats allow a wide berth. Some whale watching companies become aggressive which feels like exploitation. Our guides were gentle, more observers than getting right in the action that could injure the creatures.

The dots that are on humpback whales are acorn barnacles, which have a symbiotic relationship with the whale. The barnacles get the better end of the deal in my opinion, but I’m happy they make it work.

I haven’t figured out how to put this experience into words yet. It felt, transcendent. There were practical things that need to be planned for, like I took several Dramamine because I get so motion sick anymore. The tour company’s disclaimer states “This is a vessel on the ocean. The water moves. We can’t control everything”, hah! We got splashed a lot on the way back, but we didn’t care. To dispel the chill from our bones, we found a warm hideaway on the wharf where we ate lunch and sipped hot drinks.

And to our guides, if you are reading this, thank you for letting me pummel you with questions, hah!

Next, we went kayaking in the kelp forest in the bay. Playful sea otters, baby seals, and sea lions inhabit the marine copse. At one point, we kayaked around the jetty below where the sea lions barked at each other and slept in the sun. You can also see the tips of the kelp in the two photos below.

They swam out to greet us. Um, have you ever been in a tiny boat (boat is a strong word) in the ocean next to barking sea lion? To my dismay, I was frightened. Malcolm was communing with them and felt that they wouldn’t hurt us, they were just curious. At one point one swam right under us. YIKES! We had to come in shortly afterwards because a rain squall dumped on the bay out of nowhere. But it was so fun. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Afterwards, I peppered the blond haired, man-bunned employee with questions, as ever. Apparently, sea lions have the memory of goldfish which makes them extremely curious. They can be harmful to humans if threatened. We walked out onto the small peninsula and watched them for quite some time. One couldn’t find a rock and swam down this row over and over again, barking each time at the same seals. He tried to hoist his body onto an occupied rock, and the inhabiter quickly let him know it wasn’t okay. This dude literally did that for an entire hour. Almost the exact same pitches every time, but he approached each lion differently. Some, he would try to sneak on their rock when the others were sleeping. Some, he barked directly in their faces. But each pass, it was the same approach to each individual lion each time. So curious!

We then explored the 17-mile-drive which is one of the most gorgeous places I’ve been to, however it is also a beacon of disgusting wealth. As we drove along, I imagined how many unhoused neighbors this place could hold if we gave a damn about them as a society. Gorgeous but sobering.

This is Pebble Beach. Shortly after we arrived, several surfers in black body suits literally screeched into the parking lot and RAN to the waves with their boards. We sat and watched them hurl themselves onto a wave just to inevitably crash. But each time, they would stand, grab their board, and start paddling out for another round. If it wasn’t so cold, I would have booked us a surfing lesson. I mean, I have to get a taste of this thing that calls humans to defy logic and convention. You’ve seen Point Break, need I say more? (If you haven’t, you must. It is an iconic classic with Patrick Swayze and a very fresh-faced Keanu Reeves.)

His lil blue eyes are very sun sensitive, even with sunnies. When I smile, I can barely see out of mine, so I wasn’t as bothered.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far! I appreciate your time and energy.



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