This trip was relatively unplanned and fairly loose. We did not have a clear idea of the activities available either in Monterrey, Carmel or Big Sur. But eventually it turned out to be really good, considering the fact that Kartik had an al-nighter, Manali had just flown in previous night and me and Gargi were short of enough sleep too. Manali had flown down from Oregon and we did not really care about what we would do, as long as we are away from our routine. Me, Gargi and Manali picked up Kartik and we were as usual, LATE.
The first activity of the day was supposed to be Whale watching in the Monterrey bay. Our jetty was supposed to leave at 10 a.m and we left our place at 8 am. I knew it would be a bit tight to make it in time. The travel time to Monterrey is usually about 90 minutes but in weekend traffic it would have definitely been more. Thanks to some quick driving (pushing the speed limits occasionally) we made it in time. For a change, this time I had already booked the cruise tickets online, but there was hardly any rush. Our host was the Monterrey Whale watching company. I recommend not booking tickets in advance if you are not going in a peak tourist time. You get discounted tickets at the counter just before the cruise leaves and plus you escape the convenience fee charged online. You also get binoculars for rent of $5 it helps. The whale watching trip was fun. We saw about 12 Humpback whales. Those animals are really huge and beautiful. The jetty took us deep into the sea and I got some good pictures of the V tail of the Whale. The whales do this while taking a deep dive to go for feeding. We also saw some dolphins and lots of seals. I highly recommend this trip as whales are spotted in the Monterrey bay at all times of the year.
We were exhausted by the end of the trip and badly needed some food. We had a nice lunch at a nearby local restaurant and we set off for Big Sur. We planned to camp out in the redwood forests in the Big Sur area. We had our tent site booked at the Fernwood resorts. On the way, we decided to have a barbecue. As if it was not funny enough that veggie people were having a barbecue, we also did not have any prior experience or equipment. So we stopped in a Safeway store in Carmel and bought some charcoal and other necesary things we needed for the barbecue. At the campsite, we got the tent site # 38. I believe this is one of the better tent sites available. It was beautiful and covered with redwoods on all sides. The Fernwood resort also has a convenience store and restaurant to get your last minute supplies. The grill is a good place to have a couple of drinks before you retire at night.
The following morning we decided to hike in the Andrew Molera State Par. But with the overcast skies, Manali’s lack of confidence in her abilitiy to hike after long layoff killed the plan. So we decided to do some beach hopping. First we hit the Pfeiffer Beach. This beach is particularly popular among tourists for its serene rock faces and pristine beauty. The guys had a reall good time on the beach. I was constantly on the lookout of birds and Gargi was busy in saving herself from the cold weather. Manali was starting to hate the seagulls as much as I do and none of this made any difference to Kartik as he was probably sleepwalking. We hardly saw any tourists around though it might have been because of the overcast weather. But still I highly recommend this beach for those people who don’t go to play in water/sand. After watching a Black Phoebe going about its business of catching flies we left at around 10 for the Carmel beach. Now this is for the play in sand/water types. Golden white sand and lots of tourists make it a good entertainment. We got bored in short time here as there was not much to do for us and we ended up going to my favourite spot Point Lobos. We hiked for a while and I got some great shots of a Western Scrub Jay who was not afraid of the shutter bugs. By this time Manali has started feeling sick because of the elaborate breakfast containing eggs we had in the morning so we decided to move on and go to Pebble beach. I don’t think there is any point in describing the beauty of CA-1 but I feel it should be a seperate trip in itself and I won’t do enough justice by writing about it here. Now mind it that Pebble beach is one HUGE waste of time/money etc. It is one of those outcomes of capitalism that rich people end up calling a golf course a beach! Of course there is a bit of beach but actually what you end up seeing is the golf course. We were so disppointed with the beach that we never bothered going for the 17 mile drive. That also made us all want to be at home and so we started our return journey.