When you’re in Santa Cruz you need to check out the famous boardwalk, so the first thing we did was going down there. Unfortunately this was a Monday, and evidently surfers sleep at Mondays, because practically nothing was open. So we had to settle for a beach walk and a walk along the pier where we looked at some more sea lions and seals. The famous amusement park with its Giant Dipper wooden rollercoaster, open since 1924 was also closed. So we continued down south instead.
We had originally planned to drive all the way down to L.A. in one day, but we were realizing that this would be a rather tall order. Especially if we wanted to actually enjoy the trip. So we decided to make a stop in Monterey Bay and visit their aquarium (yes, I know that this is the third aquarium we’re visiting, but we like fish). To get change for parking I bought a jawbreaker, basically a very hard ball of sugar a little bigger than a golf ball. At the time of writing, the 19th, we’ve yet been unable to finish it.
The Monterey Bay aquarium is home to some really funny sea otters. Their day was mostly made up of swimming around, banging toys against rocks, the way they normally do when they’re trying to crack open a clam. Looked really funny. We also got to watch a feeding when they swam around on their backs, putting their food on the chest and eating it with their front paws. (Jonna comments: one of them refused to give up his/her toy while eating and managed to hold the food in his/her front paws and the toy in the back paws 🙂 ).
Another cool thing were their jellyfish, which were artfully placed in tanks with blue background that showed off their different colors. They also had a few tanks each containing one big school of fish, very impressive. In one of the really big tanks they had white sharks, bigass tuna fish and my personal favorite: the giant ocean sunfish. We also saw some african otters, kelp towering two stories and some big pointy deep sea crabs.
By the time we got out of there it was almost four o’clock in the afternoon and we still had the legendary Big Sur ahead of us before our planned stop in Santa Barbara. After consulting the GPS we decided that Santa Barbara would be a bit too far so we settled on Santa Maria instead. Before Big Sur though, there was Point Lobos State Reserve that the guide book was raving about. Since the book had been spot on with Ecola State Park we decided to take a look. It didn’t turn out to be that much to look at though, so a bit disappointed we continued on down Big Sur.
After just a little bit we passed a place called Waddell Creek that had lots of two things; kite surfers and pelicans. We stopped to have a look and failed miserably in photoing the pelicans and after some random strolling we headed on.
Big Sur was really beautiful by sunset but we couldn’t help thinking that it looked almost exactly like the Oregon coast (Jonna comments: I think the Oregon coast was better!). Apparently we came at a good time though as the road is often closed in the winter due to landslides and is fog-infested in the summer.
We didn’t arrive in Santa Maria until dark and since we hadn’t eaten that day (we mostly only eat one meal a day actually since they tend to fill you up quite nicely) we decided to try out one of the fast food chains that yet hasn’t come to Sweden: Jack in the Box. The burgers were really great, and so were the fries, beating McDonalds and Burger King both hands down.