monterey: old fisherman’s wharf & the monarch grove sanctuary

Monday, January 6Monterey is a working-class town that sits on the central coast of California on Monterey Bay.  Its claim to fame is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but the town also boasts a laid back vibe and a bustling touristy Fisherman’s Wharf.  Jayne and I, after driving over 1 1/2 hours from Danville, take a leisurely stroll past the marina and down Fisherman’s Wharf, with its candy-colored shops selling salt-water taffy, candied apples, roasted garlic heads and fresh seafood.  We walk along the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, enjoying the views of yachts set neatly in their moorings, fishing boats bobbing on the waves, and California harbor seals lounging in the water, like buoys, near the rocks.

Fishing boats in Monterey Bay
Fishing boats in Monterey Bay
Marina at Monterey
Marina at Monterey
Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf
Boats off Sister's Park
Boats in the bay
Bicycles along the bay
Bicycles along the bay
Looking at the marina
Looking at the marina
Old Fisherman's Wharf
Old Fisherman’s Wharf

According to the sign above: Monterey’s earliest pier of stone built in 1846 gave way to a commercial fishing wharf in the early 1900s when Monterey’s multi-million dollar fishing industry was born.  Despite many changes, the wharf today retains the tone and flavor of the past — a monument to the fishing industry and the fishermen who braved the wind and sea.

fishing boat
fishing boat
candied apples
candied apples
Restaurant on Fisherman's Wharf
Restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf
Cafe Fina at Fisherman's Wharf
Cafe Fina at Fisherman’s Wharf
The Grotto Fish Market on Fisherman's Wharf
The Grotto Fish Market on Fisherman’s Wharf
Roasted garlic
Roasted garlic
Carousel Fine Candies on Fisherman's Wharf
Carousel Fine Candies on Fisherman’s Wharf
native flora
native flora

California harbor seals enjoy basking in the sun at low tide.  We enjoy watching the molting seals with their dog-like heads, minus external ears.  It’s funny, they look like airplanes without wings that have come in for a water landing, heads and tails jutting up.

sea otters lounging
harbor seals lounging
sea otters
California harbor seals
sea otters and fishing boats on Monterey Bay
California harbor seals and fishing boats on Monterey Bay

We continue our walk into the little town of Monterey, where we enjoy the views of the water from a platform near a dolphin statue.  We don’t visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium today as we don’t have much time, and I just went to the Baltimore Aquarium in December.  A person can handle only so many aquariums in a short time span.

Dophin statue
Dolphin statue

From the platform we can see the remnants of Cannery Row, the sardine-canning business that at one time was Monterey’s lifeblood, immortalized by John Steinbeck’s novel, Cannery Row.  The industry collapsed in the 1950s.

the remnants of Cannery Row
the remnants of Cannery Row

We enjoy wandering through a cute art gallery displaying the work of local artists.

Art gallery in Monterey
Art gallery in Monterey

There are no dairy farms in the city of Monterey; Monterey Jack cheese, in its earliest form, was made by the Mexican Franciscan friars of Monterey during the 19th century. Today’s semi-hard cheese known as Monterey Jack is produced near Carmel Valley and is named after businessman and land speculator David Jack.

We’re getting hungry, so we go in search of some restaurants that Jayne’s boyfriend found recommended in a recent newspaper article; we look in vain for the restaurants at the specified addresses.  We finally find that the town has identical addresses on both sides of a central line, and we’ve been looking on the wrong side!  By the time we orient ourselves properly, we find all the restaurants closed for their 2-5 break between dinner and lunch.  Finally, we find an outdoor cafe where we have shrimp tacos and Corona Lights.

Finally, we head to see the Monarch Butterflies at the Monarch Grove Sanctuary, also recommended in the aforementioned newspaper article.

Monarch Grove Sanctuary
Monarch Grove Sanctuary

The trees in the fog-shrouded Monterey Pine forest of Pacific Grove provide the micro-climate the Monarchs need: proper humidity, light, shade, temperature, and protection from the wind.  Monarchs typically cluster on eucalyptus, Monterey pine, and Monterey cypress in the sanctuary.  The Monarchs arrive in November and stay through late February, when they can feed on the nectar from the winter-blooming Australian eucalyptus trees.

The Monarchs are not easy to spot, and we finally see a group of people peering off into the trees with binoculars.  Luckily, some of the people share their binoculars and point off into the distance where all we can see is a dark cluster of what looks like densely packed brown leaves, with other brown-leaves fluttering around the large cluster.  Those are the Monarchs.  Oh well.  Because we can barely see them, much less photograph them, we don’t stay long.  The view was a bit less than spectacular. 🙂

Next, we head south from Monterey to the famous 17-Mile Drive at Pebble Beach.

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28 thoughts on “monterey: old fisherman’s wharf & the monarch grove sanctuary

  1. Sounds like you had a great time. Love your pictures and comments.
    I always look forward to your web site and seeing what’s next.
    Hope all is going well.


    1. Thanks so much, Ron. And thanks for your vote of confidence. I’ve been trying to cut back on blogging because am working on applying for jobs and finishing my novel, but I do miss my blogging!! Are you freezing up there in New Hampshire? We have 8 degrees here in Virginia and it snowed about an inch last night. 🙂

      1. It’s been a colder than normal winter here.
        Below zero most nights and days in the single numbers to low teens.
        Going to be in the low 30’s this weekend.
        Last weekend we had a cookout and bonfire at my wife’s grandsons house. (Was snowing)
        Great time had all.

  2. What an amazing sequence of photos. The art gallery is so charming and the seals are darling. NOW I have a candy apple craving! They look incredibly delicious! Thanks for taking us along for the ride.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    1. Thanks so much, Kathy. Those seals were so adorable, and so strangely funny! Yes, I was craving those candied apples too, and I don’t normally like those things! Thanks for coming along on my trip. I just read your story of your ride up the teleférico to the top of Pichincha Volcano in Quito. Loved, loved, loved it! 🙂

  3. Nice walking around Monterey with you Cathy. One place along the coast I didn’t stop at, so good to see what I missed. I wonder what you thought of the 17 mile drive… next time I hope 🙂

  4. Wonderful images, Cathy. Monterey is one of my favorite places. Enjoy the 17-Mile Drive. It’s lovely and very scenic. If you get a chance, visit Asilomar. They have some beautiful trails.

    1. Hi Robin, I did enjoy the 17 mile drive and will post about it today. I took this trip in the first half of January, so it’s a done deal; sorry I didn’t know your tip about Asilomar. 🙂

  5. You know I would just LOVE this walk! Ever since I read Steinbeck I’ve wanted to visit (and that’s a long time!)
    You photos are crystal clear and beautiful, Cathy 🙂 That pink flower is spectacular. And I want to try saltwater taffy! Was that on the toffee apples?
    How goes the pitching articles and book editing?

    1. I know you would love this walk, Jo. Too bad you weren’t along! Thanks, I’m glad you like my pics. Saltwater taffy is overrated in my book, but someone must buy it or people wouldn’t keep selling it! I don’t think it was on the apples; it’s usually just individually wrapped packages. Pitching – going slowly; hopefully today will do some serious work. Editing: I’ve revised through Ch. 46 out of 50; as I’m reading I’ve determined I’m going to have to do a whole new revision (#2) when I finish #1. Lots of work to be done with my stilted dialog!! I’ve applied for 3 jobs a week too, but haven’t heard back one word. So far, I’m feeling like I’m back in 2008, going through my 250 job search again! Hope all is well with you. 🙂

      1. Oh, bless! 🙂 You knew it wouldn’t be easy, Cathy, but you can surely do it. We all have faith in you. I’m just putting up a flowery post for Jake. Algarve memories are keeping me going!

      2. I’m glad you have those memories to keep you going through the cold winter. I keep thinking of Spain and Portugal too! And my recent trip to CA. Today we’re supposed to get above freezing, for the first time in a week. This weekend, I hope to do an outing of some sort! 🙂

  6. I just realised, you’ve changed your look too, Cathy! I came back because I wanted to check replies. We don’t always see each others comments, I don’t think. Sonel has “gifted” me a new header with photo inset but I’m not too sure. Don’t want to upset her though. I’ll maybe use it for 6WS. I can’t make my photos bigger, which is annoying, but yes, I like the borders (see my answer on “Cacela Velha” 🙂

    1. Haha, Jo, I just changed it yesterday when they sent out this new theme. I liked how the colors popped. I liked the Able Theme, but because the pics were so big, it seemed to take a long time to load every time I opened it. We’ll see how I like this one for a change. I want to see Sonel’s header! I like your simple black look. The header on this new theme is so narrow! You can’t even see what it is. Oh well, it’s hard to find the perfect theme. 🙂

  7. Enjoyed the tour very much Cathy. The toffee apples look yummy. Pity you couldn’t capture the Monarchs.
    PS: Love the new look and colour scheme, especially the icons at the top and the comments section. 🙂

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