Favorite thing Sea otters are cuter, skinnier, and much quieter than their cousins the sea lion. Unfortunately, they are also smaller and more shy, therefore more difficult to spot. This guy was on the east side of the commercial wharf, all by himself, barely making a sound...except that faint clicking noise as he rapped a stone on the shellfish he was cracking open for lunch. He was doing it like they do it on the Discovery Channel, floating on his back with the stone on his belly, striking the shell against the stone.
In May 2007 I saw a mother otter fetching shells, cracking them, and feeding her young otter pup who was too young to fish for himself. Though he would occasionally dive under water, he never bought up any shells. Most of the time when his momma was under water, he just floated at the top awaiting the next course of his gourmet dinner!
Southern Sea Otters are an endangered species with only about 3,000 remaining, all of these are along the California coast where there were once 12,000 to 18,000 otters. In the 1930s the sea otters were thought to be extinct until a small colony was found near Bixby Creek during construction of highway 1. Their range is limited from Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco, through Monterey Bay to Point Conception near Santa Barbara. Southern sea otters are about 4 feet long with males weighing 65 pounds and females 45 pounds.
Favorite thing There are a lot of deer in the New Monterey-Pacific Grove-Pebble Beach area. Many of them just sit along the side of the road where ever they can find a green grassy patch such as a yard, golf course or cemetery. When driving you'll sometimes see them on the road, but they don't seem to be too scared of cars. I took these pictures along Dickman Street in New Monterey above Cannery Row. This buck didn't really care that I was there. He just glanced at me, looked around and went back to eating. I have seen the most deer in Pacific Grove near Point Pinos at the cemetery and golf course. The biggest thing to keep in mind with these guys is to use caution while driving, especially at dusk.
Besides the famous sea life, around Monterey you will also see plenty of raccoons in yards, climbing trees, along stone walls, and even in the sewage grates along the streets. You will occasionally see signs warning you of the mountain lions.
Favorite thing The ocean drops off the table at Monterey only a couple hundred yards offshore the ocean bottom plummets several thousands of feet. There are kelp jungles growing in the bay and seals, sea lions and otters are abundant.
Did you know that an otter will hook itself into kelp to keep from floating away while asleep? The thick kelp provides camoflague and makes it difficult for any predators to get close to the otter.
Favorite thing Grab a sunset meal along the water front.
We relished a beer with some fish 'n chips at a little English Pub. The waitress was an authentic, red haired, Irish lass recently moved to CA. From the windows we could see seals gathering in the last few rays of sun on bouys and a playful otter dashing and diving between small boats. Great ambiance.
Fondest memory Interesting deposits of kelp if I'm not mistaking can be found along the beach of Monterey Bay. It was the first time I saw kelp in nature, so it was pretty interesting for me.