Whales and another surrey trip

Trip Start Aug 03, 2013
Trip End Aug 18, 2013

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, August 10, 2013

this morning we woke up to a damp monterey. it had rained overnight and there was still mist around. i had an appointment with the guest laundry first thing, so we now have all the washing up to date for our second week. hard to believe that only a week ago we arrived in san fran. we've covered a lot of ground in that time. after a quick breakfast, and putting on jeans and our fleeces, we walked down to fisherman's wharf. it is a pleasant walk, taking about 30 mins, passing lots of lovely houses. i've been so pleased with the accommodation i've booked so far. thanks to tripadvisor, we've come up trumps. fingers crossed for the next two locations. after this trip i should be 'promoted' to being a senior contributor too. sorry - geeky moment for me. well travel writer 'hack' huntley has to start somewhere. 

anyway, our whalewatching boat left at 10am and we headed out into monterey bay. our 'guide' turned out to be extremely passionate about the subject, so we pretty much had a running commentary for 3 hours. as you can see from the pics we saw lots of humpback whales. we also saw several groups of risso dolphins. oh, and loads of sooty shearwaters. i was also impressed that the watching boats did not chase or attempt to come too close to the whales. it was all done in a very relaxed non-intrusive manner. there where about 5 boats looking for whales in one area but our guide kept us away from that group. we were delighted that suddenly two whales came up pretty close to us. they vent their blow hole as they come up to breathe so you can see that happen from a distance. they stay on the surface for a couple minutes before diving again. they typically stay under for 5 mins or so before having to come up for air. we didn't see any breaching, where they leap out of the water, but we did see plenty of tail fins coming out of the water. did my best i could with the camera, but without the huge lens you really need i was very happy samson and i could experience it with our own eyes. crikey, what an experience. meanwhile the sun had burned off the mist and we came back into monterey with bright blue skies and strong sunshine.

we came ashore and headed for lunch, which today was courtesy of subway. i had planned to drive across to carmel this afternoon for an explore but we didn't make it. having enjoyed taking a surrey out yesterday we repeated it today. we almost managed to get to the furthest point allowed before we had to turn around. we then embarked on some retail therapy. samson has been seeking another t-shirt that has a modified starbucks logo on it. alas, most shops had sold out, the design is extremely popular according to one sales assistant.

we paid a quick visit to the monterey museum, but this proved to be not worth the 8 dollars fee. i'm interested in the whole development of the area by the san francisan monks and friars during the 1700s. their actions founded 21 missions, or churches, at approximately 30 mile distances - which was one day's horse ride - with the first one in san diego. the road between the missions was called the 'el camino real' or the royal road, parts of which still exist today. the place names of the missions have given this part of california a lasting legacy. 

after walking across to cannery row for a second time on the hunt for t-shirts, we decided to give in and have an early dinner on fisherman's wharf. we then walked back to our motel. another fab day, also the bonus that we've had plenty of exercise today walking around and on the surrey. 

tomorrow we leave monterey and head down the famous route 1, described as the best drive in america, the first part takes us through the 'big sur' described by r l stevenson as 'the greatest meeting of land and sea'. the drive is approx 300 miles and will be the last major drive we'll undertake. we'll be stopping off at plenty of sights on the way including the bixby bridge, point sur lighthouse to name a view. we are staying in santa monica for the next three nights, and this will be our base for exploring los angeles. studio tours and hollywood boulevard are on the list plus we'll explore santa monica itself. samson is looking forward to some rollerskating along venice beach.

right. now to upload some pics.

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