Morro Bay ROCKS!

Trip Start Sep 11, 2009
Trip End Oct 21, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, October 11, 2009

YEEEEAAAYYY!!! We had our second successful night (after 4 attempts) sleeping in a tent! I feared that it would be rather cold, but the temperature was just right. Unfortunately, the "quiet hours" at this campsite was only until 6am, so we were rudely awoken by screaming kids and screaming adults very early in the morning!

Oh well... we had planned an early start anyways, to make it for breakfast before yet another whale watching expedition. We got to the main tourist strip, the Embarcadero Road, and checked with the whale-watching tours, if they would have a tour today, and to check if they had seen anything in the last couple of days. They told us they'd seen a humpback whale yesterday, so we went ahead and signed up for the tour.

Our breakfast was a rushed job, but it was a great deal... 2 eggs (any style), 2 rashers of bacon and 2 buttermilk pancakes for $4.95! We even got a Bloody Mary for free.....albeit at 10am!!! Apparently, the bartender made a couple too many!

We gobbled down our breakfast and rushed to the boat to ensure that we got there with plenty of time to spare for registration. Typically, our take-off was delayed by hour by a “party of 6” who kept calling to say they’d “be there in 5 minutes”. The captain held out for them, but any more than hour was too much to wait, so we were on our way without them.

The tour boat was really cool. It was an open catamaran, with a capacity of about 20 guests. We were accompanied by an experienced Captain, a docent from the Natural History Museum and an experienced whale-watcher who photographs the flukes (tails) of whales for a research database. It was really cold though.... but thankfully I had several layers of clothing, and they even provided blankets!!

We’d decided that we wouldn’t get our hopes up and our aim was only to see some sea otters. Lo and behold, there was a whole load of them about 20 minutes into our tour. They were just rafting along, and seemed to be everywhere around our boat! What a treat!!! One even laid on his back and “waved” at us and “posed” for the camera. Brilliant!!!

We didn’t spend too much time with the sea otters as the captain had spotted something in the far distance with his binoculars, and we were headed there. True enough, we headed about 4 miles out from shore, and there were these magnificent humpback whales!!! There were 2 of them swimming together!!! They were massive.... although it looked like they were mother and child swimming together. I am not going to even try to describe our experience! Basically, we “hung out” with these two whales, following them for about 1.5 hours. During this time, we also saw at least 5 other humpback whales within the vicinity of our boat. However, we focused on these 2 whales, switching off the engine to just wait for them, and at times we managed to get really close to them. They were just awesome!!

It was totally unexpected, us going on a tour in a random place such as Morro Bay, to spot sea otters and whales. I did not know much about Morro Bay, but I really did not expect much from this small town, famous for its extinct volcanic rock, the Morro Rock. It turns out that this was a much better spot than Monterey because the humpback whales actually come to the Estero Bay (near here) to feed during this time of the year!

Oh... we did wonder if and how whales sleep! So we asked the docent, and we learnt than whales don’t really “sleep”, but they kind of take short naps and rests along the way, and they just kind of float on the surface during this time. They don’t quite sleep for 8 hours a day, but take 30-45 minute naps at a time. Lucky us.... we were even treated to a small period of this during our tour!!!

After that 3.5 hour experience, nothing could possibly go wrong with this day!!! Sea otters, 7 whales, sea lions swimming behind our boat, a pelican just hanging out with us.......

I had to cap it off with some fresh seafood from the fish market! I bought 2 Dungeness crab portions, i.e. the whole crab for $7.19!!! I got those cracked, and we accompanied them with dozen oysters on the half shell, for just $7.50 and some garlic fries. Unfortunately, as they were such “takeaway food”, I forgot to take photos!! AAARRRGGGHH!!! The oysters were FAB, but the crab could’ve definitely done with some kind of seasoning. This was rectified with some lemon! PERFECT!!!
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