One of the things with holidaying on the west coast is the abundance of wildlife. Yes, the cities are very densely populated, but you get 30 miles out of a city, and there is very little there. We couldn't get over how green everything was. It is well known that there are many whale migrations up and down the west coast of the Pacific Ocean. We had to see whales.
We drove from the house in Aptos to Monterey Bay. The countryside was absolutely stunning. Americas fruit basket, with fields as far as the eye can see. We arrived in Monterey with plenty of time to spare, so had a little drive around. You could see sea lions from the road. They were lazing around on rocks. The houses are very higgledy piggledy, but beautiful all the same. Some very nice looking guest houses.
We parked up, not too far from Fishermans Wharf. A restroom stop was needed, and I came out to find the boys watching the sea lions.
This was another trip we booked in advance. Goos job too, as they were fully booked for a few days. We went with Monterey Bay Whale Watch, the company the BBC used when they were filming their 'Big Blue' series a couple of years ago. Their website is really good. You are able to go on and see records of what they have seen in the years previous. They also have a very good Facebook page, which we have been following since the New Year. This helped give us an idea as to what we might see.
As we headed out of harbor, first ting we saw (and smelled) was the sea lions around the harbor wall.
It didn't take long for us see our first whale. It was a humpback, you can know this by their blow pattern (apparently!!!).
All in, we saw 12 humpback whales, one fin whale and 2 different types of dolphins. This was an awesome experience, with the boys getting really in to it too. They were so happy when they started seeing the whales.
At one point, there were five whales, all in different directions around the boat. Amazing. A little bit gutted we didn't see any killer whales, but the humpbacks were amazing.
Back on dry land, another rest room stop. This time, the boys were loving the sea otter!
After a quick lunch, we jumped in the car. Paul and I wanted to drive some of State Highway 1, another bucket list thing. We headed in the direction of Big Sur, south of Monterey. We knew we weren't gong to get all the way there, but we had a destination in mind. Bixby Creek Bridge originally opened in 1932. Prior to that, residents of Big Sur were effectively cut off in winter. This is one of the most photographed bridges on the West Coast
We turned around at the bridge. One day, when I am old and grey, I want to drive State Highway 1 from San Francisco to Baja California. One day.......
Next stop on our magical mystery tour: Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. Cos I am married to a racing fanatic, and have 3 boys.
The raceway is run by Monterey Country Parks. You have to pay a small fee ($8) to enter, but then you are free to explore. When we were there, the BMW motorbike school was just finishing up their day. We had a little walk around the pit area, had a look in the gift shop and generally took in an empty track.
We then drove up to the famous cork screw, before driving back to Aptos. This was such an awesome day. We hit so many bucket list things. So glad we made it West.