Tag Archives: pacific ocean

Holiday trip to the Monterey Bay

We decided to take off a few days during the week of Thanksgiving and go on a family trip. I booked a place to stay in Moss Landing that was both between Santa Cruz and Monterey and affordable. Off we drove down Hwy 1.

We stopped for a late lunch in Santa Cruz and ate sandwiches here by the ocean.

We ended up arriving in Moss Landing around 5ish. Then I noticed, whoa it is dark here and there is only the slough and farm land and not much else.

That evening we settled in at the hotel and wandered to a Thai restaurant for a not good beer and yummy spring rolls that was a block away.

The next morning we awoke hungry and ready to explore so we drove to Monterey. We found a place to eat near Cannery Row. Afterwards we strolled around.

Here are some harbor seals resting on the beach after a long night of hunting.

We ventured into all the shops and got new sunglasses for Emma and maiki and a bottle of dill olive oil for me.

When we got back to the car we drove south down the coast of Monterey. The beaches were beautiful!

We got out to walk to the sandy shore. Emma looked for shells and played with seaweed. We saw sea otters a little ways out in the water. Luckily maiki snapped this picture.

We drove down to Point Lobos, a regional park on the coast. It had crazy beautiful preserved coastline.

All of the sea lions were camped out on a rock in the water, quite far away. A hungry Emma was disappoined and ready to leave. We drove to Carmel for lunch.

We returned to Moss Landing just before the sun set. We took a walk to the beach. It was lovely.

We walked around the harbor where Emma could hear more sea lions. They were behind a fence but maiki held her up so she could see them. We saw funny (to us) notices that said “Beware of sea lions” and keep your children and pets safe from the large, hungry sea monsters.

That evening we had drinks and chips and salsa at a mexican restaurant in Moss Landing. We sat outside with heat lamps all around us.

Day three we had breakfast in Moss Landing. We visited a cafe called the Power Plant. I ate toast with persimmons, honey, pecans and thyme! So yummy!

Next Emma and I went kayaking in the Elkhorn Slough! That was very fun and we saw a mother sea otter with her baby! That is something I will never forget. The baby was crying because it was hungry. The mother would put the baby down in the water and dive to get food. She would open the shell, bring the baby on her lap and feed the baby, then do it all over again. Emma and I were entranced.

** maiki took pictures of us in the water, will post soon. **

We shared fish and chips before driving to Santa Cruz.

On the wharf Emma got her wish. We saw so many sea lions!

staying in Pacifica

We stayed in a little beach house near the pier.

The town is small and walkable. We always visit the public libraries, local market and cafes.

These beautiful purple blooms were everywhere. And I am obsessed with all of the cypress trees.

The golf course by the ocean preserved the wetlands.

We took a lovely wet walk up the headlands.

My favorite meal was at a British Pub called Camelot. We had snakebites (Guinness and Cider) and fish and chips. It was a meal I will definitely return for.

We loved staying so close to the Pacific ocean and hearing the waves crash all night.

I love the ocean!

Fort Ross and the Sonoma Coast

Thursday morning the family woke up at six thirty to drive to the Sonoma coast. Emma was going to be a visitor at Fort Ross to be part of a historical immersion at the site of a Russian settlement from the 1800s. The settlement also included native Alaskan sea otter hunters and native Californians who along with the Russians lived and worked at Settlement Ross. Emma was a native Californian woman named Kobbeya who was a cook and she was dressed the part in a linen top, brown flannel skirt and shawl. She wore lace up boots and straw hat to round out the look. At ten a.m. we met with her charter school friends and teachers at a camp near Fort Ross and then they all hiked to the fort together.

At this point maiki and I were relieved to have delivered Emma on time and realized we now nine hours to spend exploring the area. Everything was so beautiful it was hard to take it all in.

Our first adventure was to drive to Russian Gulch. We walked on a covered path to the beach.

The beach was covered in pebbles large and small. We ate some apple muffins and Russian tea cakes and discussed getting tea next. We saw three turkey vultures on the cliff and we were surprised and how noisy the waves were when they receded back across the pebbles to the water.

Next we drove to Jenner and visited a cafe on the Russian River called Aquatica. I enjoyed a hot spicy chai latte with oat milk whilst sitting on an adirorndak chair by the river.

We drove to the Jenner nature preserve for a bit of hiking. The views of the Pacific were gorgeous. Sadly I did not spot any whales.

We attempted to visit a winery but it was open only with prior reservations. We tried to find the Russian River visitors center but we never found it. Instead we visited the small village of Duncans Mills and went in all the shops. I bought two herbal teas, Honey Dew and Winter Solstice.

We ate focaccia sandwiches we had brought and watched some episodes of Ted Lasso. We bundled up again to watch the setting sun.

We drove to Fort Ross as the light disappeared. maiki had to navigate the twisty Hwy 1 yet again and realized we would drive home in complete darkness. The fort was a ways from the parking lot and we followed a path to the walls of the fort and found the entrance. The militia characters allowed us in and we found Emma. She was so happy and so tired. The others were spending the night and each group of children would stay up round the clock for a two hour night watch. Already they used only lanterns to light their way.

On the drive home Emma would tell us how beautiful the ocean was when they hiked in. She found a small round sea urchin shell by the water. She churned butter and cooked everyone soup over an open fire. She loved it very much but was glad to be sleeping in her own bed. It was the first time she said that she experienced the sun rise and sun set in the same day.

holiday by the sea

Beach day

Memorial day we went to the beach all together and even found parking at El Porto. It was a little sunny and a little overcast. We watched for dolphins in the water farther out and Emma made friends near by to dig in the sand with and some to teach her to do flips. I sat and stared at the rolling waves trying to remember to be present and take it all in.