Does anyone know how sea otters feel about living on a sailboat?

Anchoring in Monterey Bay is basically the worst thing you could possibly do. After this, I have some rather high expectations about the amount of marine life I encounter on a daily basis. Watching mama otters tend to their young while sea lions jump out of the water to chase down their dinner and sausage shaped harbor seals bask in the afternoon sun is my new normal and I’m concerned that I might be in for a big letdown once Small World leaves this marine sanctuary.

Otherwise, the place is great! There are plenty of ways to spend money within walking distance of the anchorage and dinghy dock. Alvarado Street is the cute little downtown section and Cannery Row has lots of shops and eateries as well. Most importantly, it has the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Craig’s (non-microbrew) Mecca.

We even met some new friends here in Monterey who also own a Westsail. After our first full day in town Jackie and Randy were extremely welcoming and gracious and hosted us for an evening aboard their boat, Symbiosis. It was such a fun evening, and I’m not just saying that because there were otters floating within 20ft of me.

As it turns out, Randy works at the aquarium and has had an incredible impact on their exhibits. We totally made him get all sciencey and tell us a bunch of stuff about what they do and what Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) does to learn about the ocean and contribute to our understanding of the world around us. Neither Craig or I got degrees in marine biology, but maybe we should have. Maybe there’s still time. Is anyone looking to adopt some costly 30-something kids who like to sail and go to school?

The next day, Claire and John brought their dog Zoe to the boat to expand her horizons. Zoe was a champ and handled her first night on a boat with grace and dignity after what must have been a terrifying start. Humans have to climb up a ladder from the dinghy to get onto the deck of Small World. Most dogs are not good at ladders. So, in order to get Zoe on deck, Claire had to maintain her balance, standing in the dinghy, while she picked Zoe up and passed her to John. Craig and I were doing our best to keep the two boats as close together as possible, but the swell had other intentions. With the adrenaline of a mama bear, John grabbed Zoe with one arm and got her on board. Everyone was grateful that the black dog didn’t go into the water in the middle of the night.

Not only did we get to see our friends, but they brought mimosa fixin’s for the morning including home grown oranges to juice. These folks know how to get a return invite! After a relaxing start to the day, we walked down to the aquarium and suddenly realized that every family within a 50 mile radius had the same plan for the day.

I’m going to confess something that I probably shouldn’t admit if I ever want to run for public office, but here goes. When I’m at places like this, where there is something to see, I hate crowds with kids. I’m there because I want to see the exhibit, but I have to let all the kids go to the front so they can slobber all over the glass and complain about wanting to skip the exhibits and go directly to the gift shop. One little girl maintained eye contact with me as she moved between the otter tank and me while stomping on my feet and eating her ice cream. Listen kid, I’m gonna let this happen, but I’m not gonna be happy about it. (This is probably a sure sign that I shouldn’t have kids.)

Despite the abundance of germ vectors, the aquarium was amazing. It was amazing enough for Craig and me to go back a second day. Randy even took us behind the scenes and we really geeked out. Even though I didn’t get to cuddle with the otters (Randy said they can be V bitey), it was incredible to see how they make it all happen. Randy showed us the itty-bitty baby jellies and explained the engineering feats required to display their full-grown cousins. He showed us the top of the open ocean tank and explained how some of the animals are trained to feed. The aquarium has an incredible focus on education and it was refreshing to see a facility that attempts to return the animals to the wild when possible. Their Seafood Watch program is changing the way fisheries operate and has had an incredible impact on the health of some species. There’s an app for that! No I wasn’t sponsored for this endorsement. But I should be. I have A TON of readers!

The rest of our visit to Monterey was rather dull in comparison to the aquarium. We got some groceries and sampled some local beers, but that was about it. The march southward continues. This morning we departed Monterey Bay anticipating very light airs and a downwind run to Morro Bay. Instead we had somewhere around 15-20 knots out of the southwest which basically made it impossible/ridiculous to get to Morro Bay. With no other protected anchorages around, we retreated to the anchorage we had left a couple hours prior. Our overnight passage had evolved to an ocean day sail. To make it even more interesting, a water hose from the hot water tank disconnected which led to the water pressure pump emptying 58 gallons of fresh water into our bilge. And for some reason the battery bank seems to be refusing to fully charge, despite the copious amounts of energy being produced by the solar panels. How am I supposed to charge my phone and laptop under these conditions?! But no one was hurt, we didn’t sink, and we’re going to try again tomorrow.

(I had planned to edit a bunch of photos from this portion of our trip to post with this blog, but no such luck just yet. Here’s a video of our trip to Monterey and if you pay close attention, you can hear a bit of the vuvuzela and me realizing I forgot the wine key.)

Brew Bulletin with Captain Craig

Brewery: Alvarado Street Brewery

Beer: Local Shred Red – American Red Ale, 6.9% ABV, 50 IBU

Summary: This beer is delicious. Generally, I tend to order an IPA but I was feeling sassy and went for a red. Krystle and I were on the patio enjoying a beautiful day then she said I would have to start writing about the beers I sample in the blog because people might like it. I told her it was probably not going to happen because I’m not a beer sommelier but we all know how this ended. Krystle wrote this for me.

Okay this is Krystle. I agreed to write an initial example for him to inspire him, but that would be fun, right? If Craig tried to say some funny stuff on here? Whaddya think? Or would you want to hear about all the things he fixes?

Bottom line: would drink again.

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4 thoughts on “Does anyone know how sea otters feel about living on a sailboat?

  1. I had friends living in Monterey in recent years & had a blast visiting them there.
    Did you make it to lovers point?
    The bike paths along the whole bay are awesome! The beaches all around the bay are too. In May my friend graduated from nursing school at 51. We went to the beach to celebrate & saw a plane doing stunts, then someone jumped off the cliff behind us hang gliding, next it was the dolfins, then the sailboats. The whole time it was 75 degrees & we had surfers to watch! The grand finale was the whales that gave us a show for about an hour. Perfect. I’m sure you will go back.
    Have fun everywhere!

    Liked by 1 person

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