Monterey Sea Otter

Monterey Sea Otter Feeding

Monterey Sea Otter Feeding

The other day, Anne and I toured the Monterey waterfront. We started at Fisherman’s wharf and walked to Lover’s Point and back. We saw the San Salvador, which had just docked that day. I missed the Spanish galleon that was part of this year’s tall ships tour, so it was good to see this vessel. We were originally planning on seeing the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but our slow sojourn along the coast, ate up all of our time. We took our time and observed the abundant marine life, including this otter. Later, we observed two marine biologists who were also watching the otters.

Anne and I went to church with Dad. We first visited Mom’s grave. He attends San Carlos, the oldest and  smallest cathedral in California. Presiding over Mass was the retired bishop. His homily was a riff on the day’s gospel, Luke’s story of the rich man and Lazarus. In this story, Lazarus the beggar is turned away from the rich man’s house. Eventually, they both die and have to face judgment. Lazarus is admitted into heaven, but the rich man is denied. The rich man first pleads to Lazarus for relief, but is again denied by God. He then pleads on the behalf of his five brothers and is again denied.

In his homily, the bishop told a personal story. He had just lost his iPhone while golfing. It had fallen out of his pocket on the course. Here he digressed and talked about the quarterly solicitations to Catholic charities. He had just given, when yet another solicitation had arrived. Returning to the clubhouse, he again noticed the young men, mostly Hispanic, waiting to caddy. It turns out that one of these men had already turned in the phone. The bishop decided to then and there make another donation in the name of his sixth brother.

To Half Moon Bay and Back

Chris drove us from Monterey to Half Moon Bay, up the coast on Highway 1. We drove up, straight through, only stopping at our terminus, the Moss Beach Distillery, for lunch. Perched high above the beach, this historic speakeasy features fine food, drink, a great view and tales of rumrunners and a ghost, the Blue Lady. After lunch, we began working our way south again. We stopped at the Pigeon Point lighthouse and various state beaches along the way. Our big stop was Aňo Nuevo State Park, home on the Central Coast for the elephant seals. They have been working hard on renovating this park and there is still work ongoing. We had to take two detours in our 3 mile roundtrip sojourn through the sand. It was a slog, but the many new duckboards made a difference. Next up was Davenport, a coastal town just north of Santa Cruz that is mainly inhabited by surfers. Here was the day’s real mission, the Crack, a coastal rock slough that Chris wanted to photograph and add to his ever burgeoning collection of Central Coast pictures. Chris had brought crampons and kneepads to aid in his scramble across the rocks. I made one lame attempt to follow him, but when an errant wave soaked my shoes, I turned back. Anne and I hung out on the beach occasionally calling Chris just to check on him. We had a LA camera crew for company. They were photographing the sea stack too. After sunset Chris came back and we drove south to Santa Cruz, where we grabbed some pizza for a late dinner. Afterwards, we headed home.

Vicious Sea Lions

In the wake of yesterday’s whale watching expedition, today’s photo gallery is all about the California sea lion. Is a group of sea lions a pride? I can image being hunted through tall submarine grasses, read kelp, except that I don’t think that it works like that at least for humans. Yesterday’s sea lions of Moss Landing and today’s at Monterey’s fisherman’s wharf are all pretty much just beggar pests. They are protected, so you can’t mistreat them and they take advantage of this. I suppose that if one provokes them they could be vicious, but it is just easier to lure them out of your way with some fish, rather than confront them, because you know, once riled, they can be vicious.

Dan left today. We drove him to Salinas, where he took the train back to LA. Before his boarding, we took coffee at the Sang Café, whose claim to fame is that the author John Steinbeck ate there. This seems totally believable, since the Steinbeck museum is right across the street. We waved Dan off from the train platform as his multi-multi-car train sped away. Rail traffic is alive and well in the Golden State. He is headed back to LA to pack up all his cares and woes, because he is moving to Brooklyn. The second most costly city in America just wasn’t expensive enough. The tentative plan is that he’ll drive his rent-a-truck to Saint Louis, where I meet up with him and then we’ll hit the Big Apple together. The most recent New Yorker magazine features a cartoon that shows a highway road sign labeled – ENTERING “So what are your kids doing?” (Formerly Brooklyn). I’m looking forward to this potential father-son road trip. It should be fun. New York, New York…

Anne and I spent the rest of the day walking along the coast in Monterey and neighboring Pacific Grove. We started at fisherman’s wharf, where a Spanish galleon (actually a carrack) replica had just docked for a showing this weekend. Fighter jets were flying overhead, landing at the Monterey airport for an air show this weekend in Salinas. We walked west to Lover’s Point, but did not to leap. We saw otters and otter marine biologists too. Later, we scurried back to the car, by way of a yarn store. We got home just in time to head out again for dinner at Fifi’s. Thank you, Dad.

Moss Landing

Launching from Moss Landing, we went whale watching today. We saw at least 6 Humpback whales, plus Bottle-Nose and Risso’s dolphins on the ride. In the harbor, we saw sea lions, harbor seals and sea otters. New species for my bird list were Sooty Shearwaters. Also saw cormorants, terns, Brown pelicans, a Western grebe, and Great Blue herons and egrets. Great day, but tiring, even though we were passengers. Getting our sea legs takes work.

Point Lobos

Sooty Sunset

Sooty Sunset

The clouds pictured in the above sunset picture is really soot from the fire that has been burning in the Los Padres National Forest, just south of Monterey, all summer long. Earlier this summer, my brother Chris captured a picture of this fire, when it crested the hill across Carmel Valley. He took that photo not far from home. This was the sunset that greeted us last night, when we arrived at my Dad’s house. Today, Dan, Anne and I first headed to Point Lobos State Park, which is just south of Carmel-by-the Sea. It was even more crowded than before, but we got in OK. We first did some rock crawling and tide-pooling. Eventually, the fog moved in and all the ocean vistas disappeared behind it. A north wind had blown the smoke away, but had also brought the fog. Instead, we walked one of the more forested trails and saw different, but still interesting things. The park is suffering from both the drought, but also from too many visitors. Later, we lunched at the Village Corner, in Carmel. My Dad later informed me that when we were little, Chris and I got ice cream cones there, almost sixty years ago. Dinner tonight, with the whole family, was also in Carmel, at the Rio Grill. It was pretty fancy. It’s not that we’ve been spending all of our time eating out, it just sounds that way. 

LA City Hall

LA City Hall

This morning we were awoken in downtown LA by a calliope of predawn leaf blowers and garbage trucks that were gorging themselves on last weekend’s refuse. This morning dawned grey, with a marine overcast that was only slowly burning off with the day’s building heat. It’s been hot here in LA, on these last few days of summer. In fact, it has been hot all summer long, but global warming appeared to have no effect last night, on Lou’s plate of spaghetti. This morning Anne and I walked around Little Tokyo, were we enjoyed artisan coffees that were individually fresh brewed, along with a green tea donut. Later, we picked up Dan and then drozve to Millie’s, in Silver Lake, for a proper breakfast. Millie’s has been operating since 1928. Then we hit the road and drove to Monterey.