Sunday, September 14, 2014

Whale Watching in Monterey Bay CA

This summer has brought back large schools of anchovies to the Monterey Bay and feeding on them are many pods of humpback whales. Since friends and fellow shutter bugs from Kona are visiting for a few days, we decide to book a whale watching trip.
Planning pow-pow after breakfast

Discussion over maps


We sign up online with Sanctuary Cruises out of Moss Landing. It's a foggy afternoon for our whale watching trip.  There's a few tense moments before we go on board as their computer apparently assigned too many people to our trip. It was helpful to have a print out of our reservation in hand.
We huddle at Moss Landing - Liza, Paul, David, me and Peter

Crew member counting noses before the trip


One couple spot a friend going out on his own boat, so they decide to jump ship leaving enough room for everybody. We all happily climb aboard the Sanctuary.
David points out some sights

Liza and Paul are ready with their cameras

We're ready too

We cast off and chug slowly through the harbor out towards the bay.
Commercial fishing boat at dock

Sea Lions casually watch our passing

Another fishing vessel at dock

As we pass the rock jetty bordering the harbor, notice a large flock of brown pelicans. These birds have come back from the brink of extinction after almost being wiped out from DDT. Photographers with expensive long lens are also out on the rocks going for the perfect pelican shot.
Brown pelicans on rock jetty

Pelican photographer

Oooo - now that's a LENS

Although it seems longer, we are soon past the jetty and in the main channel. The bay is teeming with life - birds, sea lions, and whales - all come to feast on the anchovy run.
Almost free of the harbor

We first see large flocks of murres

Then fast moving sea lions keep pace with our boat


For several anxious moments we don't see any sign of the whales, and then  ...
Thar she blows!

Humpback back with other blows

and lots whale tails

Whale flipper slapping water

Flagging whale tail

Diving whale tail

Liza captures a great sequence showing unusual whale hunting behavior. A line of whales move in unison breathing and diving while feasting on anchovies.




Of course we all want to get a great shot of a whale breaching full body out of the water. We scan the bay and rarely see any breaches at all. Then suddenly a large humpback breaches right next to us. We are so amazed at the sight that none of us has the presence of mine to grab our cameras in time. Liza does get a snap of the enormous splash left behind. Sigh, these kind of shots take practice and lots of luck.
Major splash left after a breach



The time passes quickly and before we realize, it's time to turn back towards the harbor. As we do, a large raft of sea lions race towards us with amazing speed and agility through the water.
Here come the sea lions

Wow - they are fast

One last dive and they're gone

Power plant by Moss Landing Harbor

Fishing boat passes us as we head back to the dock

Cormorants roosting on old pilings

The sea lions seem to call us to return another time

Moss Landing cottage


We wander to Phil's Fish Market in search of fresh fish and are rewarded with freshly caught halibut.
Peter greets a local

and releases his inner Rocker.

Paul & Peter at Phil's

On our way back home, the fog is finally starting to lift.
Snowy egret in Elkhorn Slough

Back to sunny Corralitos


It's been a great day - one to remember.
Peter, Paul, Liza, me & David

Sun bursting through the redwoods



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bernie Man BD Bash 2014

The big day has arrived. Radha, with help from family and friends, have spruced up the house, cleaned and decorated until all is ready for Bernie's surprise Birthday Party.
Happy

Birthday balloons


The Tree of Light built and designed by Michael Doherty

New stone hearth build by Radha and Jai


New patio designed by Radha

Garden whirly-gig

Protea in bloom

Guests begin to arrive within an hour of Bernie's expected return.
Outside tables with guests

Unicorn head adorned by Dawn

more guests

Since costumes appropriate for the occasion have been requested, many come colorfully attired. Pirates are also a common theme. Hummm... does this mean Bernie's character reflects a "colorful pirate"?
Joe

Camille

Suchi & Tapan

Robin

Rory the Roman & Emily

Dean & Pam

Sandra and Ken

Sita's friends



As the time nears for the Guest of Honor's arrival, the final touches are added to the Radha's costume.
Dawn with her creation

Ivy (Radha) - the Hostess

Scott snaps photos


People assemble in the driveway just before the scheduled arrival for Bernie's surprise welcome. 
Has he come yet?

Yes - he's here! Berni, Jamal, Sita w Kalyani, Marigold, and Ivy

SambaDa strikes up the band

Bernie is surprised and delighted as he is greeted by friends and family.
Bernie enjoys his surprise

Bernie & Jeff

Hamid hugs Bernie


Nicole the face painter has a steady stream of customers.
Said, Kalyani & Nicole

Nicole is such a fun artist

The girls admire each other

The food is laid out buffet style in the kitchen area. Some of the dishes have been prepared at Dharma's Restaurant and the rest has been brought by guests.
Beautiful salads

Main dishes

Desserts

... and of course, Birthday Cake! One is even complete with a Bernie Bobblehead doll.




Time has come for the birthday wish to be made and the candles to be blown out. The children crowd around to help Bernie to make sure all his candles get blown to insure his wish is granted.
Guests assemble for the candle blowing

Bernie blows out candles w kids (photo by Suchitra Fields)

Leilani, Noah, Kalyani, Bernie & Said (photo credit ?)

The celebration is on and the party is now in full swing.
SambaDa belts out dance music

Leo downs a soda

Adrian as Superman!

Noah as Spider boy

Emily the Goddess dances to the music

Arpita jests with her admirers


Of course there is still good food, drink, and conversation.
Yogi

Tammy & Karin enjoy the food

Vasudev & Sally catch up

A good time is had by all


Bernie is still young at heart

Happy Birthday and many more!



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Retired and enjoying life to the max.