Relaxation for the end of the year at Morro Bay and a very Happy 2014!

Happy New Year and it has been a while since posts! I think the idea of holiday was not doing anything except finishing up knitting UFO’s (unfinished objects). We went on a great holiday vacation to the Central Coast of California for some relaxation and chilling out from the regular schedule. 
Heading out on our hike up the beach to the pier

The hike to the Cayucos Pier was long and apparently only 2 miles long, it ended up being twice as long and some! Lucky for us there was food at Cayucos and my hubby had his wallet so we could get some tasty fish tacos at Duckies and some ice cream from the Cayucos Candy Counter.

Christmas Day at Moonstone Beach, Cambria

We had a relaxing Christmas Day and up early with the kiddos to open their gifts from Santa and later in the afternoon we went driving up to Cambria to check out the beaches up there. We found a reserve that we could check out some tide pools with hermit crabs and plenty of kelp. As the sun was going down we headed over to Moonstone Beach to see if we could find some moon stones, instead of moon stones we found some lovely rocks for the garden.

Sassy the cute cat living on the pier

We had checked out what the embarcadero had to offer and went to the visitors center to see what fun stuff Morro Bay had to offer. We wanted to see the sea life so we opted for a cruise as Missy Moo cannot be trusted on a canoe!! The guys who took us on our cruise were the Lost Isle Bay Cruisers with a Tiki theme boat – that I loved! We saw sea otters and their babies and seals and plenty of birds – our captain took us to a a secret beach across the estuary to hang in the sand dunes for some solitude.

Ready for our cruise in the estuary

We knew we were back in Morro Bay when we saw Morro Rock on the horizon – it is huge but it used to be a third bigger until the military blew it up to use the rocks to connect the land to the rock as a tourist attraction many moons ago. Still it is a illegal to climb it and you will be jailed and fined if you do – which is fair enough as it is a burial site for the indigenous people and a nesting ground for a peregrine falcons.

Morro Bay’s icon Morro rock – a volcanic plug

The seals that we encountered on our boat cruise were sequestered to a dock that was built specially for them to hang out on. We found out from our cruise captain that sea lions have ears and that is how you can tell the difference between seals and sea lions.

Sea Lions hanging out in the winter sunshine

We had a couple of friends visit after Christmas so we decided to take a trip down to Pismo Beach to see the Monarch Butterflies over wintering in the eucalyptus trees. What a special thing to see as we saw plenty of butterflies fluttering about in the warm sunshine as we were checking out the butterflies in close up through the huge scopes the visitor center had set up.

Clusters of monarch butterflies at Pismo Beach

I had seen many a monarch flying around but I had only seen the caterpillars in pictures and never in real life and here is one of the superbly designed caterpillars grazing on a leaf of the milkweed.

A Monarch caterpillar – so tiny in real life!

Some wonderful photo opportunities were to be had on Pismo Beach with it’s collection of wind blown eucalyptus trees. Being familiar with eucalyptus trees I did not know that they could grow on the beach and be shaped into tree sculptures that are just perfect for climbing or just hanging out in!

Eucalyptus in the sunshine

There were plenty of sea otter photo opportunities – if only I had a telephoto lens with me!! This is one of the better pictures of the sea otters, I love them as they are so cute and a wonder to watch. They eat 25% of their body weight daily and are constantly grooming their fur to distribute natural oils to repel water. The cuteness of them somersaulting while grooming was such a pleasure to watch 🙂

My favorite animal – the sea otter – doing it’s thing 

Another wonderful bird to watch is the Great Blue Heron – these guys have a stunning coat of feathers and their shape is so distinct.

A great blue heron checking out it’s prey
When our friends visited the older kids and the guys were keen for a kayak the girls did another cruise on the bay to visit the rock and the otters. Here we are on the sand dunes playing around. 

On the sand dunes by the rock

At our vacation rental we had the pleasure of using this vintage gas stove. I loved cooking with gas!!

The gorgeous vintage stove at our vacation rental

The day we left it was sad to leave the beach so we filled our lungs with lots of fresh beach air before we left the central coast to head back to the bay…

Our farewell to Morro Bay

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