We made the relatively long (about 2 hours) diversion south to hit up Monterey as it was reported to be a beautiful place to go see and supposedly has a very nice, or at least well known, aquarium. We stayed maybe half an hour north of Monterey and got a reasonably early start in the morning in hopes of snagging free parking as directed by some visit-Monterey website I was on the night before. The mission was a success and we got street side parking (#1 on the map) just north of the aquarium and the majority of the interesting walking attractions.
The basic plan for the day was just to wander around, visit the aquarium and do a bit of the drive along the coast. Our walking tour got sidetracked by the sighting of a sea lion right by where we parked. We watched it for a while and I attempted (but failed) to get pictures. We didn’t get very far before the second distraction arose – Hopkins Beach (#2) was full of harbor seals asking to have their pictures taken. We stood around for a while watching them and taking pictures, and some video, which someday I’ll learn how to post on this site (which is funny considering that the original reason I got a website was to share video from the camcorder I was aiming to buy).
We walked down past the aquarium and through cannery row stopping once for chocolate, once or twice for clam chowder (I remembered how much I like that stuff. Janet, not as much.) and occasionally to use the ocean overlooking balconies of various establishments. The first of these was right at the aquarium (#3)and the second was near some hotel (#4). The pictures of the sea lions in the kelp came from the aquarium and the pictures of the kayakers landing came from the hotel. We spent a good while at each place just watching and trying to spot the various wildlife.
There are three structures that jut out into the bay from Monterey – the first one that we came upon was the Coast Guard Pier which is where all the sea lion pictures came from. The seals were completely covering the pier beyond the path where people could walk. (#5)
The second structure is Fisherman’s Wharf (#6) which is the very commercialized pier with lots of restaurants, souvenir shops and tours for hire – and surprisingly, a place I have zero pictures of. It’s possible that we missed out on going on a whale watching tour – from the sounds of it, it was a perfect time. We did sample a few clam chowders and decided to get some for lunch (or at least I did… Janet got a turkey sandwich, completely violating the concept of eating seafood on a wharf), thus starting a brief soup-in-bread-bowl trend for the rest of the trip. The third structure (#7) is maybe the ‘old’ fisherman’s wharf, I’m not sure of it’s title, but it appeared to be where you went if you wanted to go into an old barn and buy bulk fresh fish.
After the walking tour, and spending far too much time taking bad pictures of various wildlife, we were a bit late to actually do the aquarium, so that was skipped. I’m not sure if that was a regrettable decision or not – though we did discover later that there was a combo-pass which would have provided a pretty good price for the aquarium and some SF sights had we known about it earlier.
The walking tour was followed by the driving tour. We skipped the Pebble Beach drive, largely because I have issue with the idea of paying to drive around rich people’s homes, and headed south to drive along the coast for a while right during sunset, which was quite beautiful (more-so than the pictures really tell).
PS – Janet was editor on the gallery, so some of the captions are hers.