Sunday, June 29, 2014

Morro Bay

Neither Mark nor I had been to Morro Bay, but it is a popular destination for folks in our area, so we decided to check it out for our second "home base" during our vacation.  Once there, we understood the attraction!  Beautiful little town with an Embarcadero lining the east side of the bay.  Grass-topped dunes of fine, soft, sun-warmed sand...the sort where you just HAVE to play hide and seek tag.  Otters floating on their backs, cracking mussels on their bellies and eating their dinner.  Yeah, it was a really great place to visit.  But also, it was a great place from which we could stage day trips. 
 
One of my favorites was a trip north to San Simeon.  We did not visit Hearst Castle, thinking the kids would not fully appreciate it, especially for the $$$ tickets.  No, we had a different destination in mind:  the Elephant Seal Rookery
The elephant seals have a favorite beach near San Simeon.  It was cold and windy, but absolutely incredible.
Apparently it was not as densely packed as other times of the year.  Most of the adults are off at sea.
This time of year, young males are practicing their sparring skills.
 
Their vocalizations were so deep and loud, it was really a spectacle!
We also enjoyed watching them flip sand onto themselves as they basked in the sun.  This visit really made me want to return for breeding season, when there are lots of males up to 16 feet long, fighting for the ladies.  And also I'd love to see the birthing season, with all the pups.

After we left, it was time to hit the beach, and we happened along the Hearst Memorial State Beach.
 
I had completely maxed out my camera with by now beloved elephant seals, but I have to share the beauty of this beach, so this is a photo courtesy of campingcalifornia.org .  It was such a striking mix of tree-topped bluffs, wide sandy beaches, and very blue water, protected from the wind and complete with a pier to explore.  I would definitely go back.

One day we headed south, to the south end of Pismo State Beach in Oceano.  This was a very fun day...we drove our truck right onto the beach!  The waves at this beach were deceptive.  They were fairly close together, so it didn't look great for boogie boarding, but guess what...they were a blast!
And look, I can give a first-had testimonial--that's me on the boogie board!
Actually, come to think of it, the waves were a little too much for the kids.  Mark gave it a try, but because he didn't have a rash guard, he was getting all scuffed up on his belly.  So maybe it was just me who enjoyed the water at this beach, but there were dunes to play in, and we spotted whales spouting and splashing just off the shore.  Incredible!

Another wonderful visit was to Montano de Oro State Park.  Definitely NOT a water type beach, except for the experienced surfer.  But lookit...
 

Yes, the giant slopes in Hazard Canyon were a huge draw for the kids.
And there were fantastic tide pools, which are a huge draw for everyone, but maybe I'm the biggest fan.  I could look at tide pools for hours.  Unfortunately, the highlight here was seeing a disposable diaper, and dozens of hermit crabs working on digesting it.  Not my favorite sight, but of great interest for the kids.  I know...if I was truly a good citizen, I'd have cleaned up that mess.  But I guess I'm publicly acknowledging my limits.
This was a free photo op on the sidewalk of the Embarcadero.  Mae really got into her role as Captian Hook!  The kids absolutely loved scootering around here, and after our farewell seafood dinner on the bay, we scootered/walked all the way out to Morro Rock.

Yes, I now join the throngs of my Central California compadres in making Morro Bay on my favorites list.  We'll be back!

1 comment:

  1. We've seen the elephant seals...very cool. I love the last picture of the girls. Sam is really looking forward to playing with them in NM.

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