Route 1 Road Trip: Anchors Aweigh in Morro Bay
Good morning guys and gals!
I hope you all caught up on some much needed shut eye and are ready to head out on the second leg of our road trip extravaganza! Welcome to Morro Bay, a nature-rich town that combines a flourishing fishing industry with coastal tourism.
I’m pretty sure you’ll appreciate the view from our hotel room just as much as we did. We arrived in pitch black, so we couldn’t enjoy the views from our oceanfront inn. Once the sun was up, though, we awoke to an appealing eyeful. Morro rock, a volcanic plug home to locally endangered peregrine falcons, proudly rises up from the calm bay waters.
The cars that filled the parking served as a reminder of the perils of seaside living. The sprinkling of rusty freckles made it easy to tell the locals’ cars apart from overnight guests.
We started our morning with a speedy stroll along the harbors of Morro Bay, heading in the direction of Morro Rock. On the very first harbor, we spotted this furry friend enjoying his morning sunbath.
Bright colored flowers in an array of hues dotted the banks of the bay. Among the varieties of eye-catching wildflowers were scores of orange aloe vera and vivid purple sea lavender.
Paddle boat excursions led tourists across the calm waters of the bay, hoping to spotlight some of the region’s fabulous flora and fauna. From sea lions to kelp forests, sea otters to star fish, there’s plenty to be found floating around the bay. Despite experiencing a decline in the lucrative abalone fishing business, commercial fishing vessels still call the harbors of Morro Bay home. They now turn to halibut, sole, rockfish, and albacore as their “cash crops”.
Hobby fishermen also frequent the harbors of Morro Bay in search of a little fishy food.
Fishermen aren’t the only sports enthusiasts that flock to the waters of Morro Bay. We saw a large number of scuba divers scattered across the waters, most of them either swimming with the seals and sea otters or searching for abalone.
Dieter also found himself drawn to the waves rolling onto the shores of the beach. I’m pretty sure that dogs aren’t allowed in the waters of the Bay, but we let Dieter enjoy a little swim close to shore.
Much like the many seagulls, one diver perched himself high atop a rock. Of course, just as I looked away, he leaped from the rock into the waters below.
With scuba divers swimming in the bay, it was often difficult to distinguish the humans from the sea life. On more than one occasion, I unfortunately ignored my husbands cries of “Oooh! Sea otter!”, thinking it was another false alarm. Luckily, I did get to enjoy one brave fellow who ventured close to the rocks for a tasty tummy meal! :)
Bird watchers also came from near and far to catch sight of the rock’s protected peregrine falcons. A pair of peregrine falcons mates for life and returns to the same nesting spot each year to breed. Pairs of these lovebirds can be seen from February to March clinging to the rocky cliffs of Morro Rock.
Most entertaining of all one was brave little sea otter who popped up not far from the shore to say hello! I was kicking myself for not having my new zoom lens, a Christmas present from Santa, on hand. Due to a defect, I had to send it back for a replacement. Thankfully, this social sea otter served up one heck of a seaside meal from a distance that my little lens could (sort of) handle! Thanks Mr. Sea Otter!
Unfortunately, due to our driving in the darkness, we missed the awesome opportunity to see the elephant seals mating at Piedras Blancas. My sister, Dad and I stayed in Cambria a few years back and made the short drive north of San Simeon to see the not-so-gentle giants resting on the beaches. Totally amazing!
If you have a taste for sea food, enjoy a little nature spotting, want a relaxing get-away, or simply love the sound of crashing waves, you should most definitely add Morro Bay to your coastline itinerary!
Next up… Butterflies!