Monday, April 24, 2017

Monterey revisited

Two years ago, Mark and I went down to Monterey for a couple of days.  I had never been to Big Sur and also wanted to go on a whale watching excursion.  I posted photos from that trip on this blog.

We had had so much fun on that trip that we wanted to return, but finding a couple of days where the weather and our schedules would cooperate was challenging.  Last Friday morning (7:30 am) Mark asked me if I had anything planned for the day. I was sitting at the computer in my pajamas... uh, no, nothing specific.  He said that the weather looked good, he had called Chris' Whale Watching Excursions and they had room for us, and if we left in 20 minutes we could probably make it down there in morning traffic by 9:45 am for the 10:00 am tour.  So we jumped into action.

I grabbed my camera gear and was excited that I would get to try out my new 2X teleconverter on my 70-200mm lens.  I was a little concerned that it would be difficult to get clear photos on a rocking boat with the teleconverter.  I had read that it could be a little soft, but wanted to give it a try.  It gave me the extra reach that I wanted but I have indicated the photos that were cropped, mostly because it was difficult to frame the shot in the swelling waves.  Otherwise, the photos were not cropped.  I shot at a speed of 1250.

As we left the harbor, the seals were sunning themselves on the rocks.

We got out into the Monterey Bay and saw a group of seals in the distance.  Pretty soon we started seeing spouts, and up came the whales.  Our guide said that the whales and seals work together.  When the whales dive down, the seals go down as well because the whales stir up the fish at the bottom, giving the seals a chance to grab some food.  The seals can't stay down as long, so when the seals would pop up, we were told that in just a couple of minutes the whales would surface.  There were about five or six whales in the group.
 (above photo is cropped)
You can see the seals slightly in the foreground.

I love how you can see the barnacles hanging onto the fins.  How does that happen?  Are the whales staying in one place long enough for barnacles to attach?

 (above photo is cropped)
(above photo is cropped)

After our excursion, we had fish and chips on the wharf and stopped at a chocolate shop for some goodies, including chocolate covered bacon.  Sounds weird, and it is, but also surprisingly good.  We then drove along the 17-Mile Drive.  It was a gorgeous day.  I loved these flowers that are planted along the side of the road.

Mark and his chocolate covered bacon.

 We also drove along Highway 1 and returned to Monterey for dinner and the long drive home.  It was such a fun-filled, spontaneous day!

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