Sunday, January 15, 2006

My First Road Trip

It has been almost 7 months since I first made The Move. To my shame, I haven't really been sightseeing around the area. This was something I remedied yesterday. We took our first road trip to Santa Cruz, home of some really famous surfing spots.

Downtown Santa Cruz


Santa Cruz Downtown

Our first stop was to the Visitor Center in Santa Cruz. We got there too early, so we spent some time chilling out at the Macdonalds opposite. At the Visitor Center we were redirected to downtown Santa Cruz. We spent some time exploring the cute downtown and assembling supplies for our foray into the Santa Cruz coastline.


Clock Tower at the end of Santa Cruz downtown

We did not, however, manage to find what we wanted - a picnic basket. After some discussion, we headed to another possible location where we could obtain picnic food - the Santa Clara Wharf

Santa Clara Wharf

The Wharf was a tourist attraction in its own right. Extending a half-mile from the coast, it is also the nesting place of many a seagull, pigeon and sea lion.



Don't seagulls just look rude?



Sealions taking a break from mating season



Mommy and Baby Sealion

I personally liked the Sealions. You could hear them barking from under the wharf. At first, I thought they were seagulls until I actually -heard- a seagull caw.

I missed a really good photo opp though. From the wharf we saw a sealion catch a fish, only to be attacked by a particularly rude seagull wanting its share of the spoils. The sealion dived under the water to escape and we never saw that sealion again.

We bought some really bland fish and chips and headed to our next stop, Lighthouse Point, for an improvised picnic.

Lighthouse Point

Lighthouse Point is a lighthouse (duh!) converted into a Surfing Museum. It also has some of the best views of the Pacific Coastline I've ever seen.



We also saw surfers. I never realised how dangerous the sport could be until I saw this...


Surfers climbing down jagged rocks

I could only imagine what happened if the waves got too big and wached these surfers onto these rocks.

Still I reckon they had fun, even if it was a lot of paddling for a couple of seconds of surfing.



With that, we headed for our final destination.

Natural Bridges State Park

We headed here on the recommendation of the Vistor Center. We hoped to catch a glimpse of Monarch Butterfly clusters. Instead, all we got along the path was this...


A felled tree blocking the nature trail

We then proceeded to catch some tidal land pools, and the natural bridge for which the park was named.





Dinner

Dinner deserves a special entry. It was a letdown. We returned to the wharf for dinner after exploring the coastline for the afternoon. My wife and I were of the same opinion - that salt and spices must be REALLY expensive in Santa Cruz.

Names are withheld to protect the guilty.

I'm glad we made the trip. With some luck, we'd be able to head down to Half Moon Bay or Napa sometime in the near future.

9 comments:

Xia_mi_mi said...

Looking forward to for great pictures from you..

Its some great picture of nature that you have taken here...

But..ermm..whats up with the pic with the green stuff on the rocks? What are those? Mass growth of algae? =)

Anthony said...

I think that was a tidal landpool.

Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Amazing photos. Do put more of these up.

-ben said...

Welcome back!

Sounds like you guys dined in the touristy area of Santa Cruz. That place is a rip off.

Half Moon Bay is kind of a sleepy town (great for lovers though). It is not as dramatic as, say, Point Reyes Great Beach or Big Sur coastline (e.g. http://tinyurl.com/8mq8b ).

lorraine said...

omg half moon bay was seriously, seriously gorgeous! should go there some time! really loved SF the last time i was there, albeit the relatively short visit.

Anthony said...

Shyue Chou,

I will, as I take them.

Ben,

Good to be back. Yes, it does sound like a pretty tourity (read:shitty) meal doesn't it?

Lorraine,

I love the Bay Area too! We will eventually head to Half Moon Bay on another long weekend.

Candyfeehily said...

hey nice pix of santa cruz! it's good to have a view. i ve always wanted to go there.

Anthony said...

Candyfeehily,

It's a lovely place. I fully encourage it.

Candyfeehily said...

yeah, will drive up when i have the chance to.