When we arrived, the Monterey Municipal Marina made it super clear that we could only stay in the guest slip they offered us until May 24th. We completely understood, it was the start of the Offshore Race Week and they had a ton of huge (awesome) boats coming in that they needed room for. Plus, that was more than 10 days away, we wanted to keep heading south and of course we’d be gone by then. We only paid for a few nights for the guest slip; we’re cruisers now, so we planned to keep moving on ASAP. Well, I guess that was our problem. Trying to plan. The offshore conditions laughed at us as 10-12 foot waves and wind from the wrong direction kept us tied up in Monterey. Which was okay with me. I will always appreciate the caution that Damien takes with the weather. I didn’t want to get scared this early into the trip, become a sailing sissy and call the whole thing off. We’re not in a hurry; it’s completely unnecessary to put ourselves in a possibly dangerous situation.
Please enjoy Bella living her best life in Monterey while we wait out the weather:
Monterey is awesome. Most of the people are happily on vacation, we could go on daily otter tours, and do I really need to mention the clam chowder, fish and chips and calamari? Our guest dock was located about 20 feet from a restaurant where the people dining were at our eye level. This was important to remember as we sometimes walk around as if there is no one watching. It was fun to watch them having their fancy (expensive) food while we BBQ’d from our cockpit or munched on delicious (cheap) taqueria burritos.
There are so many adorable otters in Monterey, it’s hard to handle. So we started calling our daily dinghy rides “otter tours”. We got to know exactly where they’d be and it felt like they got used to us too. We could turn the motor off and float near them and they would just hang out, washing their furry little faces, cracking clams, cuddling their babies and checking us out too. It was like being inside of a National Geographic magazine. We felt so lucky. The sea lions of Monterey are great, but the otters really take the cake.
If you only like to read about the sunny side of life, please skip this paragraph – it’s a doozy. I wasn’t sure if I would write about this, but I feel like enough time has passed and it was an experience as pure and as raw as nature gets. We came upon an otter inside the marina, in a slip, by a boat. It was clear she had just given birth only moments ago, there was evidence of afterbirth and fluid in the water around her. She held her tiny baby on her chest, rubbing ferociously. We waited and waited, quietly and cautiously circling her from a distance. There was no sign of life. The baby’s head hung limply to the side, but the mama kept on, rubbing and cuddling. We both silently prayed life into the baby, for it to pick it’s head up and cuddle the mama back. Instead, sea lions began to show up. Damien and I were horrified. If we could have helped we would have. We continued to circle her, keeping the sea lions away and giving her time to either get that baby moving or let it go. We kept the other animals away as long as we could, but we also sadly knew that nature had to take its course. We left the area in silence with heavy hearts. We had mixed emotions about the whole thing. Realistically, we know that these things happen. But seeing it first hand was devastating. Mother Nature can be a real bitch sometimes.
Fortunately, there were lots of other moms with pups in the area, so we were able to console ourselves and realize that the otter population would be okay. And man, were those moms and babies cute. They would float in the kelp, cuddling and cleaning, popping up out of the water like prairie dogs to check us out.
The one (humongous) drawback about cruising is leaving the people we love. Monterey is only a couple hours drive from the Bay Area, and we were super stoked when a few of our loved ones made the trek to come see us. We had fun visits with our Aunt Sheila and Uncle Reijo, and our OG Sailing crew Natalie, Randy, Gabriella and Anthony and two of the sweetest girls ever, and one of our good friends, the reason this website even exists, Jason Skinner. Spending time with our pals on our boat, in somewhere other than our homeport, was a dream come true.
So between all of the fish and chips, otter tours and burritos, all of a sudden it was May 24th and we had no where to go. We couldn’t keep on truckin’ down south, the waves were too big, the wind was not in our favor and the next passage to Morro Bay would be at least 15 hours. We had to head back up, either to Santa Cruz or Moss Landing. We called the Yacht Club in Moss Landing and no problem; they’d love to have us.