P recently had a birthday and I surprised him with a morning of kayaking in the Monterey Bay. He thought we were going horseback riding.

The Monterey Bay is home to all kinds of animals, including sea lions, seals, and otters. In the center of the Bay is the Monterey Canyon, which has a bottom 2 miles below the ocean’s surface. To give some perspective, the Grand Canyon is about 1 mile deep. Our kayaking guide from Monterey Bay Kayaks told us that this canyon helps to support the seal and sea lion populations because they don’t have to go too far to get their food, which is usually at deeper points in the ocean.

Otter

Otter in Monterey Bay, CA

I signed us up for the Monterey Bay Natural History Tour, which gives us about 3 hours of guided kayaking around the Bay. The great part about having a guide is that he knew where to go to see some of the truly unique to Monterey Bay sites, like the “otter raft”. The otter raft is a kelp forest not far from the Monterey Bay Aquarium in which the otter will tie themselves up so they can eat, sleep, and just hang out.

Sea Lions

Sea lions at Monterey Bay, CA

One of the otters’ co-Bay-habiters are the sea lions. These guys are MASSIVE, reaching up to over 800 pounds. And they are loud. Most of all, I thought they were super cute and reminded me of the Beast. If the Beast had to become a marine animal, he’d be a sea lion. The sea lions were friendly and curious and swam right by our kayaks several times.

Sea lion and bird, Monterey Bay, CA

After checking out the otters and the sea lions, we kayaked over to Seal Harbor, where the more peaceful and quieter seals liked to hang out. Our guide surprised us by bringing some of the ocean into our kayaks.

Sea star, Monterey Bay, CA

I had always called them starfish, but our guide said he preferred calling them sea star, as they aren’t really a fish. Either way, these stars of the sea are pretty fascinating. Each leg has its own set of organs and can recreate itself into another sea star if it were ever cut off.

We wrapped up the tour and kayaked back to the beach. It was such a great day to be out that we decided to walk around the wharf and grab some clam chowder. I hope P enjoyed his birthday!