Harbour seal on a rock.

We arrived in Monterey after dark yesterday and so were not sure what to expect this morning. We awoke to the shrill squawks of Pacific Gulls sitting right outside our windows and with a view beyond them out to the Ocean where pelicans glided smoothly over the rolling waves.

Our surrey.

We soon discovered that by walking over the road we arrived at a rocky beach covered in Harbour Seals. The Harbour Seals are smaller but much cuter than the Elephant Seals we saw yesterday, as well as being much more active. As we walked along the Monterey beach-front we saw several swimming or sunning themselves in precarious positions – they particularly seem to like balancing on their stomachs on small rocks above the water.

This part of the coast just seems to be alive with sea creatures. There are birds all over the place, several types of seals and sea lions and sea otters. There are also a wide variety of fishermen and divers. We walked out on the breakwater near a popular diving spot and came within a couple of feet of sea lions.

Sea lion close up.

Monterey Bay is lined by a bike and pedestrian path which makes for a lovely walk or ride by the sea. We actually originally intended to hire bikes and ride along the beach. The boys persuaded us to hire a ‘surrey’ instead. This may well be one of the most inefficient forms of transport ever invented. The angles make pedalling quite tough and it’s an unwieldy beast to steer. We only went a couple of miles before returning it and then walking instead. Walking was faster and much more pleasant.

Occupy Monterey protest.

We ended up walking a fair way along the beach-front to the Dennis the Menace playground. This is a large playground originally donated by the Menace’s creator but, a bit sadly, not themed in any way. The boys, who had never heard of Dennis the Menace anyway, had a good time running about amidst a huge number of local families.

We also ran into an Occupy Monterey protest with a lovely line in chants which were proving a bit wavery until an obvious vet stepped in and started leading them with a drill-instructor voice. I couldn’t help feeling that the chant of “We are the 99 percent” probably applied somewhat poorly to the crowd of lucky locals and tourists wandering about in Monterey’s afternoon sun.