Aug 16th: Sea Otters and Roller Coasters

August 17, 2007

126 miles driven, 46 photographs taken (you can’t take a camera on a Kayak), 2 Americano Grandes drunk, 0 Starbucks City Mugs acquired, injuries now just irritating …

Accomodation: Quality Inn, San Francisco Airport (OK but in transition)

Picture: Today was one of the highlights with a trip on Sea Kayaks to the Elkhorn Slough. We were privileged to it next to a whole raft of sea otters (and say them eating), not to mention the harbour seals that popped up next to the Kayak from time to time. The photograph is from the banks after the trip on maximum telephoto so it may be a bit grainy.

This was the last day in Monterey before heading of for Charmed-land. We started off with a Carmel institution namely breakfast at Katy’s and then attempted to book a couple of sea kayaks. This proved difficult as these days you have to have a certificate to prove you can do an eskimo roll (now known as self-righting proceedure). Now when I learnt to do this, there were no certificates and my father and I built the kayak out of marine plywood, but that was an earlier age. The net result was that if we wanted something other than than the open pieces of plastic we had to a go on a guided tour, and there were none free in Monterey, but there were some vacancies on the Elkhorn Slough tour. This turned out to be a blessing, as there were non tourists, the wildlife was abundent and we had direct access to the sea otter rafts. I have never been so close to these fascinating creatures.

After that, and by way a complete contrast we ended up on the 6th oldest roller coaster in the US, namely on the broadwalk at Santa Cruz. This was (a cultural reference for the British) like going back in time to Blackpool in the 1960’s (well maybe the 50’s) but the wooden roller coasters are still the best. Highway 1 then provided scenery and sunsets to Half Moon Bay, where I failed to find The Brewery (which was a major disappointment) and we ended up driving down the 5/6 lanes of the 101 (there is no greater contrast with sea otters) to our accomodation for the next two days, playing tourist in San Francisco before heading for Santa Barbara and home over the weekend.

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