Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Monterey to Morro Bay

It was sort of sad to sail away from Monterey, but as we headed out to sea and into the overcast sky at 4pm the sadness melted into anxiety pretty quickly. Keegan and I embarked on our first overnight leg. A 20 hour trip to Morro Bay.

Two hours into the journey the sun began to set. It was not one of those beautiful postcard sunsets as the marine layer laid heavy above our heads. It was light grey turning to dark grey turning to black. As the darkness grew, so did my dread.

There is something so unsettling about the unavoidable nature of night. When you are at sea and the sun is going down their is nothing that can be done to stop it. There is no escape and experiencing the darkness for the first time was downright un-nerving.

Keegan was our rock for that first hour after sunset as my brain tried to settle itself down. Moving forward into the night in total darkness was a sensation I had never experienced and I'm not afraid to admit that I was scared. We were very lucky that the winds and the seas were in our favor!

After total darkness had fallen Poseidon set us a reassurance as the boat cut thru the water and the seas began to light up a bright, sparkling green. We were traveling thru phosphorescence. A wonderful treat that would not have been possible if we hadn't been brave enough to travel thru the night. 

This leg of the journey was generally uneventful as we took 2 hour shifts throughout the night and arrived at Morro Bay by mid-morning the following day. 

Shortly after sunset Keegan's stomach did a few loops and his dinner found its way onto the deck. Luckily, he felt much better and was good for the rest of the trip.

We were grateful to approach Morro Bay during the daylight as it is one of the most dangerous entryways along the coast. The huge volcanic plug marked the entrance.  If you ever come this way do not try and make the harbor at night!!

Morro Bay offers free anchorages for five nights. The anchorage was GREAT! Calm and comfortable the whole time with pelicans and otters and sea lions all over!

Not much to report in the actual town of Morro Bay, but this should definitely be a stop on the way south. The perfect place to stop and rest up!

**We got our first chance to inflate our dinghy and set up a pulley system to lower the outboard engine. We had great fun escaping the boat, although it was very strange to leave Malabar at anchor!

Volcanic plug from inside the bay

Mooring field behind anchorage

The town of Morro Bay

Bye Malabar!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Visitors in Monterey

Our last day in Monterey was graced by the presence of my brother, Joshua, and sister-in-law Alessa who came in from Napa. After another trip to the fish market where Keegan made Alessa select the seafood for our dinner we had a great stroll to Cannery Row for history and clam chowder samples!

It was so wonderful to share an evening with family aboard Malabar. It was really the evening we needed to get ourselves ready for the next leg of our journey to Morro Bay.

Josh and Alessa stayed the night and hung out with us until 3pm and we headed out of the harbor at four for our first big, overnight leg to Morro Bay!
Awesome fishing vessel coming home


Alessa enjoying her squid experience

Sea Nettle

Sea nettle swimming around the sea dock

Star fish

Alessa with the sea otter

Malabar Guests chowing down!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Magical Monterey

Our visit to Monterey has been absolutely awesome! We've been docked at the City of Monterey Marina, which is clean and well maintained. Well worth the $28/night for a 40ft slip. Sea lions and sea otters frolic in the marina waters and the location is within walking distance to everything you could need.

Sea Lions

Our first full day in town we took the bike/walking path from the harbor all the way to Pacific Grove. This pedestrian highway is heavily used and in great condition. It is scenic and takes you from the wharf, past lounging harbor seals, thru Cannery Row and up to Lover's Point where a beautiful picnic area and beach await you.

View of the marina from the bike path

Harbor seals lounge in the sun
Harbor seals
Beautiful views from path
More harbor seals!!
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Along Cannery Row
My otter friend!
Lover's Point
Lover's Point
Turn inland from Lover's Point and explore the historic and positively adorable town of Pacific Grove. In town is the Monarch Butterfly habitat! This is one of the stops the Monarchs make on their migration south every year. We stopped in and saw several, but the bulk of the migration will be showing up some time in the next few weeks. If you get a chance, come and see them!

On Tuesday evenings a vibrant Farmer's Market takes place on Alvarado Street. Musicians and live parrots and dozens of organic vegetable booths line the street. The mood is festive and families are everywhere. This is truly an event and a great opportunity for people watching!
Bustling Farmer's Market

If you're traveling on the cheap, something we know a little about, their are many free things to do in this town. Visit the many beaches, walk the history trail or stop by the municipal wharf after dark to watch the fishermen unload their catch. The night we stopped by it was squid arriving by the thousands.

Night squid delivery!
If you have access to a stove on your visit, come back to the wharf in the morning to pick up some super fresh and super inexpensive seafood. For Keegan's birthday we feasted on 1lb. of squid, 1lb mussels, 1lb clams and 1/2lb shrimp. All for only $14!

Yum! Fresh Fish
Keegan making his selections
Squid it is!
Squid prep
Cuttle Bone
If you are less in the mood to clean squid, but would still like to go on the cheap might I recommend a walk down wharf #1 around dinner time. All of the restaurants pass our samples of their clam chowders and by the time you reach the end of the road you've had a bowl of it!

Monterey is also packed with historical significance. Many of us know about Steinbeck and Cannery Row, but Monterey was the site of California's first theatre and first library. There was a time when it was the only port of entry for taxable goods into the state. The customs house still exists and is California's Historic Landmark #1. There is much to be learned about California history in this town.

Kayak rentals, snorkeling or scuba are also widely available activities here at Monterey. This, of course, costs some money, but with the ample sea life in this bay I think it is well worth it! And the water is so clear!

One other great place we discovered just a block from the marina is a new place called the Wharf Marketplace "The Bounty from the County" The prices are outstanding and the selection is wonderful! It has only been open 9 weeks, but it looks to have a bright future. Stop in for a delicious breakfast sandwich for $3, or to purchase local veggies and fish at awesome prices.

All told, it is sort of sad to be leaving this bountiful, beautiful town. We highly recommend a visit by land or by sea!

Great veg at Wharf Marketplace

Sandwiches, coffee and smoothies at Wharf Marketplace

Birthday YUM

After the birthday YUM

Fishing boat

Pics from the beach

More beach pics

This little girl is rescuing a star fish