Heading Up To Monterey
After our stay in San Luis Obispo, we headed up Hwy 1 (the Pacific Coast Highway – PCH) for some time to enjoy the sea views of Monterey. The most direct route was inland up Hwy 101. But what fun would that be? When we last travelled along the California coast, we generally opted to travel right on the water’s edge. So we knew the drive up Hwy 1 was a long trip on the twisty cliff-hugging road, so we headed out early.
We had stops planned along the way to see the Hearst Castle and to view the elephant seals. And we knew that the scenery along the way would required several stops at viewing points to catch the stunning sights.
With a long travel day to get to Monterey, we knew we really only had two days to visit. On our last visit to Monterey, we went whale watching. We passed on that on this visit. But we did want to re-visit the Monterey Aquarium. Walking on Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row is an essential stop to get the sea views of Monterey. And an afternoon spent watching crashing waves at Pacific Grove kept us mesmerized.
Stunning Sights Driving The PCH
Our first planned stop along the way was to see the amazing Hearst Castle. We explored the grounds and did the Grand Rooms Tour. This gave us just a small taste test. Definitely a stop we will make many more times when we visit this part of California.
At the second stop we made, we saw the elephant seals lounging on the beach. All along the beach we saw these guys. But there was a dedicated viewing spot to park and walk. The elephant seals lazed and played as we watched. It was a fun stop.
The drive up Hwy 1 was stunning. There were pullouts along the way to look up and back along the coast. We never tired of this view.
Several times we stopped for highway cleanup work. We saw the large parts of the road that were still impacted by landslides. But the route was all open, if slow.
The sun was ready to set when we finished our drive along the PCH. We were happy we were not driving the wild twisty road after dark. But we were still excited when we got more sea views of Monterey when we arrived.
A Room With A View Of Monterey Bay
We checked into the Monterey Marriott. After a bit of discussion, we got the upgraded room that our Marriott Bonvoy loyalty status got us. It was a large suite with a patio. From the patio we looked out over Monterey Bay. It was certainly a great spot for the sea views of Monterey. And we got the most amazing pink sunrises one morning.
There were lots of spots close by to eat within a short walking distance. One day we could not resist a visit to Rosine’s Cake Shop for dinner. The portions were the typical massive size we found everywhere in the U.S. We took enough food back to the hotel for 2 more meals. But we could not resist the cakes.
It was an easy walk from the hotel to Fisherman’s Wharf. A local shop had bikes and eBikes for rent. Our you could take one of the pedi-carriages or a Sea Car.
We initially wanted to stay right on Cannery Row. But this spot was a great base to explore the sea views of Monterey.
Sea Views Of Monterey From Fisherman’s Wharf
No visit to Monterey is complete without a stop at Fisherman’s Wharf. We loved that view of the boats in the harbour.
The colourful shops drew us along the pier. We sampled clam chowder as we walked along the pier. It was hard to choose the spot for fresh seafood. But when we stopped, we had the best seafood lunch.
All along the pier we found shops selling whale watching trips. The signs outside showed recent sightings. We were less interested in going out just to see grey whales. Certainly we saw lots of those on our last whale watching stop in Monterey.
We walked around the pier to look at the sea views of Monterey. We heard the call of the sea lions but could not find them anywhere close to the pier on Fisherman’s Wharf or at Cannery Row. With a good zoom lens we found them out on a piling in the harbour. Certainly not the fun jumping sea lions we found on our last visit to Monterey.
As we wandered along Fisherman’s Wharf, we got great sea views of Monterey.
A Walk Along Cannery Row
We headed off to Cannery Row early one morning. All along the street we found interesting stores and restaurants. The iconic brands like Bubba Gump’s Shrimp were popular spots for photos. Interesting art drew our attention until it was opening time at the aquarium.
The sea views of Monterey are not the only interesting sight when you wander around Monterey.
Under The Seas At Monterey Bay Aquarium
When we visited Monterey the last time, we paid to see the special jellyfish exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We were entranced for hours. But we rushed through most of the rest of the aquarium. So it was worth a return visit on this trip. We downloaded the app and scheduled our day to see some of the feedings.
As we wandered around the Monterey Bay Aquarium we saw a wide variety of different fish. Colourful aquariums showed off tropical fish and coral. The kelp room showed the fish that lived in the local kelp forests. Models of whales hung from the ceiling
And of course, we could not pass on a visit to see the jellyfish again. We were captivated as they moved through the water. The detail in their designs continued to amaze us.
And interesting indoor exhibit talked about the damage that plastics are doing to the seas. The exhibit included some interesting art pieces built from recovered plastic.
The outdoor decks were open. We checked out the sea views of Monterey. We still heard the call of sea lions. But we were unable to locate them.
There was lots to see when we wandered the Monterey Aquarium.
Feedings At The Monterey Bay Aquarium
Our first feeding stop was at the penguins. The penguins here were the African penguins (also known as Jack Ass Penguins for the sound they make). We had fun watching these penguins when we visited Cape Town in South Africa. As the crowds grew bigger around the exhibit, the penguins grew more active. They were ready for the feeding.
We next headed to the Open Sea feeding. Turtles and fish swam past in the giant aquarium. The actual feeding was from outside on the open deck. So we could only see it on monitors. Large swarms of sardines seemed to be safe from the giant fish. With plentiful food, the big fish did not seem very hungry.
The Open Sea feeding was less interesting than I expected. When we went to the theatre to listen to a talk about sharks, we wished that the facility still had sharks. It would have made the Open Sea feeding a bit more interesting.
We missed the sea otter feeding. When we first looked in the tank we thought the sea otters were away sleeping off their last feeding. But then a playful pair decided to entertain the crowd. This was a fun part of our visit.
We were glad we went back to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to explore the under the sea views of Monterey. But we must admit that we felt a bit jaded. When we visited Osaka, Japan we spent a few hours in the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan watching the amazing whale sharks and large fish in the vast central tank. It may have spoiled us forever.
Enjoying The Wild Sea Coast
The days in Monterey started off raining. But the strong winds seemed to blow the rain away. On our second day, we watched the surf pounding in on Monterey Bay. It looked like a good day for a drive along the coast.
We headed south out of Monterey along the shore. The plan was to take in the views along the 17 Mile Drive. We had such vivid memories of the lonely cypress trees.
But we never made it further than Pacific Grove. At every viewpoint in Pacific Grove, the waves seemed wilder. We stopped and watched the waves crash. Until the view drew us on to the next point. We spent a few hours just watching the sea views of Monterey.
The skies darkened and we saw rain off in the distance. At times the sun broke through. It was a day to enjoy all that nature had to offer.
Great Sea Views Of Monterey From Above And Below
We enjoyed our return visit to enjoy the wild sea views of Monterey on our road trip along the California coast. There were lots of opportunities to catch views from Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row. The Monterey Bay Aquarium gave us a great view under the seas. As water babies, we felt totally at home by the sea.
From Monterey, we headed back inland. Our next stop was three days of wine tasting in Napa. The only sloshing sounds we heard in Napa, were the sound of wine swishing in the glasses.
Did you visit the wild seas of Monterey? Did you explore above and below the seas?