I am loving sitting here reflecting on our Californian adventures on deck in Tahiti, we are at anchor and the kids have made friends with some English kids on the boat next door. I am watching all four of them trying to squeeze onto a SUP (much like the sealions I mention in a minute).
What a fabulous little place Morro Bay is! Mum and Dad came here a few years ago and insisted I would love it and with almost instant sightings of otters, sealions and harbour seals how could they be wrong. After a drive up the 101 to join the Pacific Highway 1 we parked up by the dock and found a great little restaurant to have a late brunch. Oli had ANOTHER giant burger (good to see my vegan morals rubbing off on him!!), Liz tried out clam chowder and Mum and I opted for breakfast – avocado was my saviour on this trip! As we sat by the waterfront in the California sunshine we watched a dock full of comedy sealions argue for space on the small platform. There were about 13 to 15 animals all squeezed on but two big boys kept arguing about who was boss and shifting the others around. This made the dock tip and often resulted in someone falling into the sea. It was like the sealion version of 5 in a bed and the little one said roll over. I love their barking and over accentuated reactions to one another. I think sitting there watching them made for the best brunch I have ever had. Especially as the kids and Mum were with me and we were finally on our adventures with any stresses from the past few weeks long gone.
After lunch we explored a few shops, Oli found a skateboard museum with the second biggest skateboard in existence (It was huge!). Lizzy found a mermaid shop.
Morro Bay is famous for it’s rock thay ypu can see on the photo below. There is a road out to it where you can park up and watch some local otters lazing around in the kelp. I got completely drawn into this and sat for ages watching the cute little things roll around, groom themselves and play. The mother otters had baby’s on their tummies as they floated around on their backs in the classic otter pose. The kids enjoyed watching them also but after a time their attention was diverted by the hundreds of wild squirrels who lived on the rock. People have obviously tamed them with food and they approach looking expectantly at you for any offering you may have. However it is clearly not the best idea to feed them and there are signs asking people to refrain from doing so. The kids seemed to charm them without food, especially the extra tiny babies who seemed as much curious as hungry.
You would think after the Sealions, Otters and of course the Squirrels that we would be done with wildlife for one day but the best was still to come!! Elephant Seals…..
As you pull off Highway 1 just North of San Simeon you can smell these guys before you see them. It reminded me of my days at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary and the endless scrubbing of pools and the distinctive aroma of seal poo. Oli and Liz refused to hug me after a day volunteering there.
The elephant seals haul out on a beach directly below the board walk and also further along the beach which is all fenced off. There are loads of information signs about the animals and if you go between certain times The Friends of the Elephant seals have wardens there to greet people and answer any questions. We only went later in the day or early in the morning so missed out on meeting them. However I was happy just standing and watching the antics of these brilliant, massive creatures. The boys were continually sparing or practicing to spar, banging their chests and heads together and occasionally sinking teeth into each other’s necks, the juvinilles copied. It was just awesome trying to understand the beach politics and the continual hierarchal competition between the bigger animals. I went back four times and would have been more if time had allowed. I think I will do another post about these creatures at some point. Of the 200 or so that we saw I spotted three that had entanglement wounds. This is common in our Grey Seals back home and is always very sad to see. The ghost gear and entanglement issue is global and needs addressing urgently. The poor animals we saw were suffering greatly.
We stayed an extra day at Morro and went canoeing, rock pooling and found an amazing beach which the kids braved swimming at. We also found a very poorly Elephant seal pup which some of you may have seen me post about. This is again a story for another day. It was very sad not being ble to help in the same way we would in the U.K.
We could have stayed much longer at Morro Bay and would recommend a visit to anyone who loves marine life. I can imagine it gets busy in season but as we were there in June it was just right. Not too much if a ghost town but also not packed. Parking was easy and the motel was dead cheap.
Ok well it’s time to go back to my rum and coke, it is now night time in Tahiti, we have shopped, filled up with water and the kids have been in the sea from the moment they woke up until the sunset an hour or so ago. Tomorrow we move to a quieter anchorage near a nice little reef to get ready for the small trip from Tahiti to Moorea. Goodness I love this place 💙💙💙
I will leave you with a few photos from Morro Bay and the elephant seals. Until the next time!