Monterey Bay, Carmel-By-The-Sea, San Simeon, Port San Luis and
We departed San Francisco early Monday
morning on September 20th, 2004 for Monterey Bay, where we spent a
wonderful 3 days exploring, bike riding and of course, visiting
the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and their newly captive baby
Great White Shark. Trinity left the same day and we
planned to stay together for the next few weeks, buddy boating
down to San Diego. We're usually the anchor-out kind, but
there was so much to see here that we put the boat on the dock to
maximize our efficiency. It also let Eric or Mel get an
occasional early morning run in on the beautiful shore-side trails
before school without having to fire up the dingy.
Monterey Bay, both the town and the bay
itself is teaming with wildlife. We saw what we think were
blue whales on our way into the marina. Sea Otters, Seal
Lions, Harbor Seals, Brown Pelicans, Great White Egrets and
myriads of other sea birds completely own the rocks which lie just
off shore of the surrounding beaches. Running along the
beach is difficult at best as stopping to watch the Cormorants and
Pelicans diving for fish or to listen to the Sea Lions argue over
females and pecking order provide ample distractions.
On Thursday, September 23rd, we nipped
around the corner the short 15 miles to Stillwater Cove near
Carmel-by-the-Sea where the kelp-filled anchorage is right off of
Pebble Beach (yes, that Pebble Beach). The initial plan was
simply to cut a few miles off the long run to San Simeon the
following day, but the beach was so inviting and Carmel-By-The-Sea
so close, that we decided to stay an extra day and ventured along
the golf course pathes into town the following morning.
Shopping ensued, but restraint was displayed and the boat's
waterline survived the day.
Like Monterey, Stillwater Cove is full of
life. Brown Pelicans diving for dinner, harbor seals
watching you move about the cockpit from a few feet away, sea
otters using their tummies as tables, eating crabs and urchins.
When you go below, the boat is filled with a crackling noise from
the kelp crabs and shrimp on the kelp beneath the hull. The
beach sand in the cove and the surrounding area is truly amazing -
very fine and almost white. A local woman we met walking on
the beach told us there used to be miles of sand dunes here before
the golf course industry descended and all the sand was shipped
off to fill sand traps and bunkers far and wide. Today,
there is only the beach left with little but perfectly groomed
greens beyond - beautiful and sterile.
On Saturday, we had a lovely sail to San
Simeon, a small natural harbor with a fine beach, but no town to
speak of nearby. It is however, very near the famous
Hearst Castle and Roma and Steve on Trinity had kindly offered to
watch the kids for the day so we could go ashore to take the tour.
Getting ashore here through the surf however, has its
difficulties. A ladder leading down to the water from the
nearby wharf looked promising, but although it reached the water,
it unfortunately didn't go all the way up. A hesitant beach
landing was attempted and botched and to make a long story short,
we got wet. Very wet. Lesson 1: When going
ashore in a surf, either go ashore or don't go ashore.
Dawdling in the surf line trying to decide how to land is a sure
way to get you knocked over in a hurry. Lesson 2: If
there is even the slightest possibility of getting your wallet,
the camera, the cell phone or the 2-way radio wet, put them in a
dry bag, even if you think you'll be climbing a ladder up to nice,
So anyway, there we were on the beach in the
fog, soaking wet , salty, with sand in places sand shouldn't be
and tickets to tour the castle in 30 minutes. Mel of
course, waded right back into the surf and did her best to get the
sand out of her nose and ears. After all, first things
first. A sprint up the beach to the park area furnished a
fresh water shower, which left us less salty, but no less wet and
no less chilled in the early morning fog. Luckily, we
climbed out of the fog into a bright, sunny morning as we hurried
up to the castle entry buildings. An appeal by a dripping
Melissa to the ticket lady easily bought us a later tour and
another hour to lay in the sun and dry off. The looks we
received from the tourists as we aid out the contents of our
wallets and backpack and drip-dried in the bright sunshine on the
benches outside the ticket office were priceless. "Watch out
for the log ride." Eric said. "It's a killer."
Hearst Castle is something to behold.
All I'll say here is that it is worth a tour and shows what
tremendous wealth combined with tremendous passion and tremendous
drive can accomplish.
Monday found us motoring the entire way
through the calm to Port San Luis where we anchored off of
beautiful Avila beach, home of the only shark attack fatality on
the West Coast since 1995. The signs on the beach warned of
a shark attack last year (complete with graphic) and said to swim
at our own risk (we didn't). We read later that a 18ft Great
White had killed a swimmer here in August 2003. We
stayed two days, playing on the beach in the afternoons after
school in the mornings. It was cold, with an afternoon
wind chill that bit hard, as it had been cold since we left San
Francisco. Cold enough that Steve from Trinity, not having
brought a jacket ashore, wore his life jacket around on the beach
instead one afternoon to keep warm. We were very much
looking forward to rounding Point Conception and officially
entering Southern California, which we did on Wednesday the 29th
as we headed towards Eric's old stomping ground, Santa Barbara.
Our three days in the marina in Santa
Barbara were spent in large part with school and laundry, grocery
shopping, re-fueling and other assorted boat projects but we also
got a date night out (thanks Trinity!) as well as out to a movie
with the kids (Shark Tales) and a bike ride up to the Santa
Barbara Mission and (excellent) nearby Natural History Museum.
Sunday, October 3rd we plan to leave for a
few nights in the Channel Islands before heading South to Catalina
Island and San Diego.
As always, click on the photos for larger sizes. We had
more, but the flash card in Mel's camera didn't survive San