Living the “Wild Life” in California

I hope the holidays have been good to you. They certainly were to my family. After Christmas, hubby and I took a weekend trip up to see Monterey. Monterey has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful places in California and it did not disappoint.

Monterey Bay

Now, I could tell you about the gorgeous views of the Ocean, the historically fascinating Cannery Row, the vast array of delicious restaurants, but those who know me will not be surprised that the best things about this trip – the animals! I am a sucker for four-legs, fins, fur – you get the picture.

We spent a good part of one day wandering around the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. Having grown up in Florida, this was not my first trip to an aquarium. I have to say, though, that this one offered some really unique displays. In one exhibit, a three-story tank dominated the scene. Hubby was able to get an astonishing photo of a school of sardines that swirled throughout the water.

Monterey Bay Aquarium School of Sardines

On the other side of the building, was a special exhibit called The Jellies Experience – an incredible collection of jellyfish varieties. Some of the jellies were tiny and some were almost translucent, so they were very hard to photograph, but the ones that we were able to get made a dazzling display.

Monterey Bay Aquarium - Jellyfish

I know I’m such a geek, but a highlight of my visit was a talk by one of the volunteers. She showed us the ear bone of a humpback whale, which was huge compared to a humans. She told us that a humpback whale’s song could be sent on an ocean current and heard by its mate over 3,000 miles away!! Isn’t that awesome!

After our weekend, we decided to chance the Pacific Coast Highway again. This time we made sure that we left early enough to avoid the drama of the last trip in the dark. It gave us an incredible opportunity to see wildlife everywhere.

Driving through Pacific Grove, which is a small town right next to Monterey, this deer was just watching the cars pass by. It almost appeared to be posing for a picture for us.

2014-12-26 16.51.13

We stopped at almost every pullout along the way as we had been told that it was whale season and we might see one. Sure enough, we were blessed to see several spouts. None of them breached out of the water, so we could only see a big dark shape, but it still took my breath away just to know they were there!

Whale Watching on Pacific Coast Highway

Of course, we had to stop at Elephant Seal Beach to see what was going on there since our last visit. They have been busy! The beach was not as crowded as the young males had been cleared out, but the females had arrived and there were babies everywhere! I could have stayed for hours just watching those babies snuggle up to their mommies, but hubby said it was time to move on.

Elephant Seal Beach

As we passed by the entrance to Hearst Castle, I was telling him that I had heard that they used to have a zoo there and that when it closed down, they kept the zebras. I’m sure he thought I was making it up. All of sudden, cars began whipping over to the side of the road. There they were – a herd of zebra! Told you so!

Hearst Castle Zebras

Finding the awesomeness was an easy task this weekend!

I’d love to hear from you – tell me in the comments about the awesome things you discovered this holiday season. I look forward to reading them!

Posted in General Thoughts | 4 Comments