Monterey has the largest population of raccoons I've ever seen in a city, small town, or the country. Some nights near the wharves, just after dark, you'll see a mess of coons sneaking out from under the wooden structure to search for the masses of tourist trash that is lying about. Enjoy looking at these crazy little guys, but don't get too close, they have sharp teeth and are known to occasionally bite with their mouth full of 40 teeth. Adults can weigh up to 35 pounds, and these chubby guys who thrive on leftover bread bowls and chowder must be getting about this heavy. The breed in winter and young are typically born in March or April.
In Monterey you will see raccoons around Fishermans Wharf, on the quieter streets downtown and in some of the parks. They often crawl into the storm drains along the curbs when scared or threatened.
Recently we've had two or three climb up on the roof of our apartment building each night and cause problems.
I've never seen anything quite like the beautiful full moon rising over Monterey Bay. With the shape of the Monterey Bay, you can can probably watch the moon rise over the water from various locations throughout the year.
Four elements of watching the moon rise:
1. When is the full moon? (http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/MoonPhase.html#y2006) Three or four days on either side of the full moon will give nearly the same effect.
3. What time will the moon rise? (http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.html) -- Note the moon rise time changes by 30 minutes to one hour each day.
2. From what direction will the moon rise? This is the tough one, luckily I included a good link below.
4. How about the weather? So you know when the full moon will occur, the direction the moon rises from, and what time the moon will rise. You'd better check the weather before you head out. A cloudy sky will ruin your plans.
Putting it all together...this site will make things easier on you...http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/moonrise.html as it shows moonrise time, direction, and phase of the moon on a single chart. Select the nearest city (I use San Jose while here in Monterey) and show all columns.
Sunrise, like moonrise, changes location throughout the year, but sunrise is much more constant. Between June and December (the solstices) the direction of sunrise changes from 60 degrees to 119 degrees here in Monterey. That means the location of the sunrise changes by an average of just one degree every three days.
From the city of Monterey, a sunrise from the direction of 119 degrees in December and January just barely peeks over the water of the bay and the best place to watch it rise is at the Coast Guard Wharf, Fishermans Wharf, Commercial Wharf, or the trail between Coast Guard and Fisherman's Wharf.
In the Summer the rises more to the northeast at 60-80 degrees, so is easily seen from anywhere west of about Fisherman's Wharf including areas of Cannery Row and Pacific Grove. Go any further east and the coastline starts to turn to the north, with the sunrise over the land behind you.
Favorite thing: This is a photo I took that I'm proud of. It shows Bird Rock in the background and a seagull in the front. The seagull was at the right place at the right time, and I was able to take an artistic picture like this! There are some really amazing views, including Bird Rock, along the 17-mile Drive!
Fondest memory: Monterey has been a haven for artists and writers for decades. Perhaps the most notable Monterey based photographer is Ansel Adams. And since I am a fan of landscape photography, I had to make a stop in the Ansel Adams Gallery in Monterey.
Favorite thing: Bring a camera and enjoy the scenery - the 17-Mile Drive is a definite must-see, must-do if you are in the area.