The Woods and the Coast

north redwoods  001north redwoods  003north redwoods  013We headed directly up the coast of California with plans continue north; to stop in Oregon, in Washington and then to cross the border by ferry to Vancouver Island, British Columbia and cross by ferry again to mainland Canada.

But first, we stopped at another National Park. Redwood National and State Parks are actually four parks, one National and three State Parks, managed cooperatively. These parks “protect vast prairies, oak woodlands, wild riverways, and nearly forty miles of pristine coastline, including the majestic coast redwoods”.

north redwoods  043Coast redwoods are related to the giant sequoias that we visited earlier in the spring but they only grow in a narrow strip along the Pacific coast of California and southwestern Oregon. Although the giant sequoias’ trunks are wider, the coast redwoods can grow much taller, to nearly 380 feet. In fact, somewhere in these parks stands the world’s tallest tree, a coast redwood.

Our drive from Noyo Harbor was long, California is just so darn long! But not as challenging as our last drive, and part of the way was through coast redwood forests.

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The Pacific Coast Highway

Big Sur  005Big Sur  030The Pacific Coast Highway south of Monterey climbs towards Big Sur,  yet another very cool place along the coast.  This section of the coastal drive is stunning.  And this is the same drive we took many, many years ago on one of our very first “big” trips as a married couple. Big Sur  010Big Sur  003Big Sur  007

That long ago trip began in San Francisco and ended in Los Angeles.  With a memorable stop in Big Sur.Big Sur  001 Continue reading

Whale Watching in San Diego

Whale Watching in San Diego 1Whales SD  059We were so excited to have yet another opportunity to see whales.  This time of year gray whales can be spotted off the coast of San Diego as they migrate north from Baja California.  The migration starts in November when the whales head south from Arctic waters and continues through the spring when they head back up north.  This up to 14,000 mile journey is one of the longest annual migrations of any mammal.  Eschrichtius robustus is robust indeed. So we researched options for whale watching in San Diego and found multiple two-hour to half-day tours as well as one eight-hour option on Pacific Nature Tours.

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It’s challenging to get an up close look at migrating whales since they are a moving target and at times far off shore.  So in order to have a better chance at an up close and personal look we selected the eight-hour tour.  And happily we found a Groupon discount which made it a great deal as well.

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The Fjord of the White Whales

saguenay 25park marinI love fjords!  And I have been fortunate to see some in Alaska and Norway, and now have an opportunity to see the largest one in Quebec, the Saguenay Fjord.  It’s one of only 38 of the 2,130 fjords around the world that is at least 60 miles long.  Most of the fjord is protected as part of the National Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay.

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Whales in the Fog

whales 15digby 20Something  I was looking forward to when in this area was taking a unique whale watching tour that uses zodiac boats and goes out of nearby Tiverton, Long Island.  Ocean Explorations is run by a biologist who’s been guiding whale watching tours for 20+ years.  We signed up to go out on the first day that showed a clear weather forecast.

Getting to Tiverton meant about an hour and fifteen-minute drive past Digby, down the length of Digby Neck, plus a four-minute ferry to cross over to Long Island.  The ferry is available only on the half hour so we had to time it appropriately.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

2013-03-06 at 13-36-13Just behind our campsite is Similar Sound – a sound is a long, wide conduit between two bodies of water.  Similar Sound connects the Florida Straits – the body of water between the Florida Keys and Cuba and between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean – to Florida Bay – the body of water between the Florida Keys and the Everglades.

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