Monterey  002Monterey  028Monterey was a place that we visited 30+ years ago on one of our first vacation trips after we got married. On  a more recent visit, Hector discovered a place where you can kayak with sea otters.  So he wanted to bring me here to kayak with the sea otters.Monterey  003Monterey  006

But our tour began with a visit to Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row area.  It was almost as touristy as San Francisco’s wharf, although we did find a great seafood market there.

And we continued with several visits to the beautiful coast.  There were ice plants blooming everywhere, and other wildflowers as well.  We were drawn to the coast time and time again.Monterey  010

Monterey  017And once again, we spotted some seals with seal pups, little heads popping up out of the water.  There was lots of kelp everywhere, a favorite of sea otters, and we spotted a couple of those as well.Monterey  016

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Monterey is one of those areas that appears small at first, but then you uncover more possibilities.  And I have to mention their great website where I found lots of things to do and places to go.  Including secret beaches.  Okay they are not so secret if they are on the website, but the couple we visited were still remote and beautiful.

One afternoon we took the scenic 17-mile drive.  The road takes you by the Monterey Peninsula, in the very ritzy Pebble Beach neighborhood.  There is a $10.00 fee to take the drive.Monterey  011

Monterey  001I’d been on this memorable road when I visited years ago and really wanted to drive it again.  As you drive along the coast there are gorgeous views of cliffs, beaches and ocean.Monterey  005Monterey  014

Monterey  008Monterey  007Monterey  024Monterey  019Beautiful cypress trees line the road, including the now famous Lone Cypress standing over a cliff over the water, the subject of many iconic photographs.  The tree is the official logo of the Pebble Beach Company.Monterey  026

And, amazingly, we saw a rainbow by the Lone Cypress.  Beautiful.Monterey  021

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Monterey  063As we drove back to our campsite in the country, we drove by Castroville, which just happens to be “the artichoke capital of the world”, several times.  Oh, yes.  And I can confirm that the artichokes were fabulous.Monterey  012Monterey  029

Next we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  No whale shows here, just tanks and tanks with lots of different marine life.Monterey  034

Monterey  032Monterey  031Monterey  040The “Kelp Forest”, part of “The Ocean’s Edge” exhibits was impressive.  Kelp can grow 10 to 12 inches per day in the bay to a possible 175 feet but it’s difficult to appreciate the size unless you are underwater.  And this island girl is not going into the cold Pacific water. Monterey  059Monterey  048

“The Ocean’s Edge” exhibits also include penguins, touch pools and sea otters.  We observed the sea otters during their feeding, when they swim back and forth and do a few tricks.  They are so playful and cute, always a delight to watch.

The “Open Sea” exhibits included puffins, jellyfish, vanishing wildlife including sea turtles, and “Tentacles” with squid, cuttlefish and octopuses.Monterey  060Monterey  038Monterey  033Monterey  037

Monterey  041When I was a kid I saw one too many movies of huge tentacled beings attacking us humans and I developed a phobia.  But the (small) giant Pacific octopus was shy and quite cute.

Monterey  050Monterey  049The “Jellies” exhibits were some of the most beautiful.  There are two separate areas that have jellyfish tanks.  One exhibit has a “mod, psychedelic” feel, with 60s themed lamps and other props and the jellyfish pulsing to the beat of the mod music.  Groovy, man.

Monterey  052Staying with the groovy theme, they had a fun exhibit where you stood in front of a camera and it created kaleidoscopic images of you as you moved around slightly.  Can you find us in the photos?  Mesmerizing.

Monterey  058There were many other types of fish, including some giant grouper and sunfish, also known as mola, and different types of shellfish, rays and sharks.

Mola aka Sunfish

Mola aka Sunfish

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a class act.

So far, Monterey did not disappoint.  And the best was yet to come.

~ BrendaMonterey  023

18 thoughts on “Monterey

  1. Monterey is one of our favorite spots on the California coast, and you captured it so beautifully and creatively in your photos. The kaleidoscope images are very cool! They didn’t have that at the aquarium when we were there — it’s time for us to visit again. 🙂

    • Welcome to our blog! Monterey is just beautiful. The kaleidoscope was a lot of fun, everyone was standing in front of it and taking photos. What a great aquarium.

  2. Love it! Beautiful! Mike and I sailed our boat into Monterey Bay years ago on our way up the coast. I remember walking to that aquarium from the marina. Thanks for the memories and for the amazing photos!

  3. My friend, Bob Bartley linked me to your blog – sounds like you guys are living your dream – Have visited San Francisco, etc but not in your fashion /// watched Jack Nicklaus play golf at Pebble Beach – thanks for the memories and God speed.

    • Welcome to our blog! We are definitely living our dream, have to pinch ourselves occasionally. Lots of beautiful sights in California.

    • We had more artichokes from a San Francisco farmers’ market, yum! Still catching up on the blog, we’re now in Yosemite. It’s such a beautiful state!

    • Welcome to our blog! We stayed in Morgan Hill, in a Thousand Trails campground since we have a membership. It was on ok park, electric and water only. But frankly it was too far, almost an hour’s drive to Monterey. I’d recommend you find something closer.

  4. Love this place! We spent a week there a year and a half ago. We were headed to Yosemite but they had just had the Hantavirus outbreak and we wanted to see what they were going to do about that. So our friends that were traveling with us at the time suggested Monterey for a waiting place. It was 100 degrees in the interior of CA so we were quite happy to feel a little chill when we got there. It sure is a beautiful place. I love the barking seals and sea lions all crowded all over the getty. The aquarium was wonderful. I got some of the same jellyfish photos. Love that you captured a rainbow with the lone cypress:) Thanks for taking me back with you:) Love that new header!

    • Thanks, Pam. We really love Monterey and the rainbow was very cool. Each post now has its own header, more for Hector to play around with 🙂

  5. Did the Monteray Peninsula drive many years back, pre-children and Joe with another … friend…. Brough back memories! Lone Cyprus looks the same now as in 1984. 🙂 We did not see the aquarium as were on our way to the Olympics in LA. Lovely and fun “trip” you took me on — AGAIN!!! Thank you. xo

    PS – Kayla is home for “summer”; Zac arrives the 28th. V is in Santiago until next January when we will visit and tour with her. 🙂

    • 🙂 We were there just a couple of years before you. Glad you enjoyed. Say hi to Kayla and Zac for us. Chile tour in January sounds fabulous.
      Take care,

  6. Beautiful, awesome and amazing as always!!! Loved the colors! And jelly fish, and views of the coast!

    Be safe. My brother, Steve, was evacuated from Sony where he works. Those wildfires are scary.

    Sending a big hug,

    • Thanks! Hope Steve is ok. We’ve not been near the wildfires. Scary situation here in California with the drought though.

  7. The Aquarium is one of the best I have ever visited. But the whole coast is tremendous. Great blog and pics! Thanks.

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