Tag Archives: sea otters

Darlene’s Family Comes to Visit

In celebration of Darlene’s 50th birthday, Alice, Kathy, Shel and Vicky came to visit and we gave them a tour of some Santa Cruz sights: Natural Bridges State Beach and the Monarch butterfly grove, the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Lighthouse Point overlooking Steamer Lane, the Santa Cruz Pier, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and Roaring Camp Railroads.  Earlier we also took Darlene’s mom, Alice, to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Monterey Zoo and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

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A Kayaking Initiation

Darlene invited her cousins, Travis and Dylan, to join us for their first kayaking adventure and we took them down to the Elkhorn Slough today.  It was a pretty windy day – lots of extra paddling required but they got to see lots of sea otters, sea lions, brown pelicans, white pelicans, cormorants, canadian geese, snowy egrets, blue herons, godwits and curlews.

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Whales at Moss Landing

There’s been loads of humpback whales in Monterey Bay this summer and Darlene and I finally had a chance to go on a whale-watching tour by kayak out of Moss Landing this past Sunday with Dave of Venture Quest Kayaks.  Thanks once again, Dave!  We had a great time and encountered numerous humpback whales diving and feeding together, once even coming up between our kayaks, as well as saw plenty of others off in various directions, blowing, diving and even breaching in the distance.  After a snack break back at the boat launch, we headed in to the Elkhorn Slough with the aid of some handheld kayak sails.

In addition to all the whales, we also saw plenty of other wildlife: lots of harbor seals, sea lions, otters, egg yolk jellyfish, starfish, porpoises, pelicans, gulls, terns, sandpipers, cormorants and even an egret.  A couple of people saw a mola mola pass under, but we missed that. D’oh!

However, our kayak was boarded in the slough by a sea otter “patrol” – apparently inspecting us for goodies… or contraband?  (Check out the video below.)

We had so much fun on Sunday that we decided to sign up to come back the very next morning. On Monday, the entire bay was incredibly calm but we really had to work to find any whales. We had to paddle out nearly three miles into the bay to find them, but find them we did! Or perhaps they found us…

A short video montage of our two days of kayaking (4.3 minutes, 70 MB)

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Kayaking in Santa Cruz

Another fun day out kayaking in Santa Cruz with the Bay Area Outdoor Adventure Club and guided by Venture Quest Kayaking. We started out from the Santa Cruz pier and went around the lighthouse to Natural Bridges State Park to stop for lunch before returning with the help of some handheld sails.  Saw lots of sea otters among the kelp along the way!

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