Kayaking in the Pacific Ocean
Monterey bay and its charm
Smelling the sea, listening to the sounds of the waves crashing against the shore, feeling the cool fresh sea breeze on my face was just what my soul craved for after spending time in suburban USA. The scent of the sea and the azure blue of the Pacific ocean was tempting enough for me to decide to get to Monterey Bay and take in its sights and sounds for a day.
Monterey Bay is a gorgeous bight in the Pacific coastline, south of San Francisco and San Jose. Home to the Monterey Canyon, which is one of the largest underwater canyons in the world, the bay teems with colourful marine life, beautiful birds and a noisy raft of sea lions.
After a two hour drive, my first panoramic view of the bay was astounding! The tiny alcove that cut into the land with the waves lashing against the jagged rocks that dotted the coast and the fishing town with its distinctive character was surely what children’s story books are made of.
The settlement of Monterey is a charming town with an old world fishing town charm to it. The city boasts of the best preserved historical evidence of California’s Spanish and Mexican period with many restored buildings. The town is also famous for the Monterey Bay Aquarium which has beautifully preserved species of Kelp, marine life, dolphins and whales.
My trip however, was to discover the natural abundance that lay a little bit into the water of this gorgeous bay! Walking down the board walk to the beach, I was greeted by a gregarious bunch of sea gulls that were enjoying the sand and the sun and weren’t afraid of having me come close to them.
I figured that my best way to explore the abundant wildlife that teemed this natural haven was to kayak along the fringes of the bay.
I walked past a colony of sea lions that lay sun bathing on the rocks in true “Californian” fashion and some colourful star fish gave me a teaser with their myriad colours to see what lay ahead in my adventure for the day.
Before setting off on my Kayak I packed in a quick lunch of a fresh sea food sandwich with fresh catch just from the sea and then headed to Kayak rental store. This was my first time Kayaking and I was really excited and nervous at the same time!
Kayaking at sea is a little challenging as you need to be strong with your arms to tackle the waves and be unfazed with the occasional rogue wave that may throw you off balance. The cold water of the pacific and kayaking against the wind that was blowing towards the shore, ensured that my arms and core were going to be thoroughly worked out today!
I rented myself a a nice kayak and after receiving lessons in the basics of Kayaking I was all set to go!
As I was hauled into the water, I suddenly felt a weightlessness as the buoyancy of the water took over and I had to attune myself to the rhythmic motions of the sea. The icy waters of the Pacific splashed on my face and I was glad that I was well clad with my wet pants and jacket!
My arms set to work against the waves knocking on my kayak and as I looked up I saw the striking scenery that lay in front of me. Bright blue waters extended till distances that met the eye and the horizon was painted with craggy grey outcrops of rock.
I looked at the water beneath me and I was greeted by an incandescent swarm of jellyfish that floated gently along with the current. Countless starfish in bright colours ranging from orange to purple to some with fiery strokes like that of a tiger lay resting on the rocks that jut out of the water.
These areas form interesting ecosystems and feeding grounds for a variety of marine life ranging from echinoderms, crustaceans, piscine species to giant marine mammals. It is this delicate balance that needs to be maintained with minimal human intervention in order to ensure sustainability of the species that have made this place their habitat.
Kayaking along the fringes of the coastline, I paddled my way across forests of marine kelp that grew vertically from the depths beneath in search of valued sunlight that bounced off the surface of the water. The gregarious groups of sea lions however, were the highlight and the most entertaining bit of my experience. Laying down solitary, or in large groups on the rocks, these massive pinnipeds are a very intelligent and perceptive species. Curious juveniles would come swimming close to my kayak wondering what this is while families resting on rocks far away would suddenly break into a barking frenzy waking up the other sun bathing sea lions!
The rocks are also co-habited by many Cormorants. These elegant black birds with conspicuous necks and large beaks use these rocks as breeding and nesting spots for their chicks, until they grow strong enough to take to the cerulean sky that lay above them.
Two hours into the water and my arms visibly exhausted with all the kayaking in the sea, I decided to turn back. The journey back to the shore was easier as I had the wind blow with me and it gave me the much needed “second wind” to get my strengths back to get to seaboard.
I lugged my kayak out of the water and thanked my rental company for helping me learn the basics of Kayaking and providing me with an experience to see nature up close and personal.
I decided to spend the rest of my evening walking down the board walk and waterfront admiring the fishing fleet that lay anchored in front of me and spend some more time with the gregarious sea lions that enjoyed this coastal bliss.
As I watched the sun set from the boardwalk, my mind drifted like the breeze blowing across as I listened to the wind. This was the sound of the gentle breeze blowing across the leaves in the trees, dancing and writing beautiful poetry across the skies!
Travel with me at Offbeat Tracks to explore untouched and untamed nature in all her glory!