Monterey 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.
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.
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.
Beautiful 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.
As 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.
Next we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. No whale shows here, just tanks and tanks with lots of different marine life.
The “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.
“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 “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.
Staying 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.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a class act.
So far, Monterey did not disappoint. And the best was yet to come.