Whale watching is an activity you can do almost year round in the Bay Area. I have never been whale watching on a boat – that is still on my to-do list, but the gray whales migrate and swim quite close to shore, so sometimes you can get lucky and see the giants from land.
From December to May the gray whales migrate back from Mexico. First the males and the juveniles and later when the babies have some blubber the mothers with their babies. Orkas, not really whales but named killer whales, can be seen then too hunting the baby gray whales. Humpback whales and blue whales are in the Monterey Submarine Canyon from mid April to December.
If you want to get an idea of size of a whale I recommend stopping by the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. Outside is what might be the world’s longest blue whale skeleton, Ms. Blue is an impressive 87 feet long! They also have a grey whale skeleton. I took the tour – which comes with the $8 admission, the volunteer was very knowledgeable and they let you touch some baleen, the whales filter system for eating. Plus you can pet a shark and some other ocean creatures inside the center.
Oh it is the season! Close your eyes and smell the burn.
So yes, BBQ season is upon us with the major holiday of Independence Day taunting you to cook and eat the perfect hot dog.
In most parks around here, if you are a small group, it is first come first served for the tables and grills. With larger groups you have to plan way in advance and make reservations.
My favorite gathering spot here in Mountain View is Cuesta Park with huge grass fields to play in and picnic tables to hang. If you like a view with your hot dogs, I’ll recommend the Half Moon Bay State Beach. You can set-up right next to the ocean.
As a kid I once did a Wattwanderung (mud-flats walking)when we stayed on Sylt, a Northern Sea island. When I signed up for our tide pool walk with the Marine Science InstituteI had the old images in my head of the creatures who appeared just as you pulled back the sand.
So, I was quite surprised to see the interesting rock formations that we walked on and explored. Not too rough a terrain, but you needed closed toe shoes, something that could get wet, and you needed to dress in layers.
Rules for tide pooling are: Always watch your kids, and NEVER turn your back on the waves! And of course: Take only memories, leave only footprints.
We saw sea stars (below), a little black crab, a shrimp, and of course hermit crabs.
Overall this was an exciting excursion. Our very knowledgeable tour guides from the Marine Science Institute brought buckets and nets and knew the names of the creatures and where to look. This made it a perfect day.
What was the coolest thing you’ve seen on the beach?
The date for the Titans of Mavericks competition has been set for February 12th. This means 24 of the best high wave surfers are invited to compete off Pillar Point Harbor near Half Moon Bay. Due to restrictions you might not be able to watch them close up, but there will be viewing parties all around Half Moon Bay, since redbull TV is covering the event.
Thanks to El Nino waves up to 38 feet (11,5m) are expected. Best to watch early in the morning. But I heard the Half Moon Bay Brewing Companyis ready to serve you at 8 am and will show the event on TV.