Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey & Carmel-by-the-Sea – California Have you ever gone on a holiday and wondered if you’d really booked the right hotel? What if it’s in a bad area in a dodgy part of town? Sometimes you just have to hold your breath and hope you’ve got it right. We were visiting the Monterey area of California to do some touristy stuff like whale watching, and we booked a hotel in a town called Seaside. Ever heard of it? Us neither. On the map it looked fine, but what does a map tell you about a town other than it has roads and parks. Well we needn’t have worried, because we get there and it turns out that Seaside is a nice town that is hard to differentiate from Sea City, Sand City and Monterey – because they all basically run into each other with no breaks between them. In fact the whole area is about as perfect as you could imagine – we didn’t want to leave. The signposts directing you …
The whales were side-by-side almost vertical with their noses pointed high in the sky – we were witnessing something truly special – a double breach (two Humpback whales flying out of the water and crashing back in at the same time) – but not just any two, this was a mother and calf, almost within touching distance of the boat!Our guide told us she had been doing this for 15 years and this was the first time she got pictures of it! Today though, this mother and calf breached so many times for us that she was sure many of us would have a good chance at a great shot. Unfortunately for us, one of the best photo opportunities of them together was so close to the boat that both my wife and I missed it because we had our long zoom lenses on our cameras – doh!
While we previously had opportunity to visit California in the Long Beach/Los Angeles area, this time we were going to see an entirely different region of California – the Monterey Peninsula. Flying into Los Angeles would have meant a 6+ hour drive north via the freeway to Monterey. Flying into San Francisco and heading south, required only 2 hours 45 minutes according to Google Maps -that decision was easy; we’d fly into San Francisco and head south. First thing on our to-do list was to see the beautiful California coast that we see in the photographs and in the movies! We didn’t see it south of L.A., but it turns out the picturesque California coastline is actually between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Catalina Island, where the Casino isn’t actually a casino, the main mode of transport is a golf cart and you might almost mistake it for the Caribbean. If you’re ever in the Los Angeles area, take the time to spend a nice leisurely day on this beautiful little island – you won’t regret it. Located just 35 minutes south of LAX is the city of Long Beach – famous for the IndyCar race, the Queen Mary cruise liner as well as the wonderful Aquarium of the Pacific – and your gateway to Catalina Island.
Fountain at Aquarium of the Pacific When you think of Los Angeles, Disneyland and the various film studies may be the first thing that comes to mind. But there’s more to see in the area – just 35 minutes south from LAX is Long Beach. Probably more famous for the Queen Mary and the IndyCar race that happens every year, Long Beach is quick and easy to get to from the airport and it’s also the gateway to beautiful Catalina Island which is just off the coast.