Our lack of rain has made crossing the Pajaro River on Day 2 of Walk The Bay a bit easier than in previous seasons.  However, we had some visitors to the mouth of the river yesterday.

harbor seal at the river

These interested mammals made us reconsider crossing at the mouth.  After a short walk back along the river we found a shallow crossing point.   A little adventure along the way made for a great day on the Monterey Bay.

A new feature film, Chasing Mavericks, showcases the coastal beauty of both the Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay areas.  Sure its a surfing movie with all the cliches you would expect.  But, there is more here than one would expect and there is the added bonus of incredible coastal views.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Surfer Statue
The Surfer Statue at Steamers Lane

If you’ve enjoyed a Slow Adventure you should recognize some of the venues featured in the movie.  Steamers Lane and Pleasure Point are both sights you’ll see along our Walk The Bay from Santa Cruz to Monterey.  Mavericks is one of the highlights along the trail on our Bay to Bridge walk from Half Moon Bay to San Francisco.

Keep walking!

Inn to Inn walkers cross the Pajaro River
Crossing the Pajaro River

Many times when walkers are walking along the beaches in Santa Cruz County they are approached by locals and asked where they are going.  They reply “Monterey” and are normally told “you can’t get there from here on foot.”  The biggest obstacle is the Pajaro River.  This river meets the ocean just south of Pajaro Dunes and can be a force to be reakoned with….at high tide.  The secret? Make sure you arrive at the river at the lowest possible tide.  Unless the surf is exceptionally powerful, you’ll find success by crossing along various sandbar areas.  Be careful and follow your guide’s advice if you want to be sure to get to Monterey.

Crossing the Pajaro River – LargeCheck out this video taken by one of our Walk The Walkers who felt comfortable enough during the crossing to film a bit of the finish.

The moai are amazing on Easter Island. However, one of the most astonishing things I saw during my recent visit was on Anakena Beach, a pristine white sand beach where the Polynesians first landed.

Plastic pollution found on the beach in Easter Island
Plastic pollution from Anakena Beach

Check out the plastic debris I collected in just a couple of minutes on this beautiful empty beach. Every handful of sand had tiny particles of colored plastic. Anakena Beach was such a spectacular sight with fabulous moai perched on the sand…marred by the realization that plastic can find itself on an island that is the furtherest place from anywhere….2500+ miles from Santiago, Chile, in one direction and 2500+ miles from Tahiti in the other.

This sobering news is a reminder that we all need to reduce our use of plastic. Carry your own steel water bottle, use drinking fountains, and buy beverages in cans. Be aware that the plastic you throw away or recycle will remain in some form on this planet for at least 1000 years. Sadly, some of it will wash up on the shores of Easter Island.

Here’s a short video of the view from behind the Moai…click below

Anakena Beach Moai

If you want to do something new and different in the new year….try birding!  Yes, it’s called birdwatching by most…but, “birding” is such a better word to describe such an active pursuit that takes you out to excellent places…on foot.

Inn to inn hikers discover shorebirds along the Monterey coast
Brown Pelican

A great way to start is to take a class through an adult education provider in your community. Or, be brave and show up at a local bird club walk. You will improve exponentially by birding with excellent birders.

I resolved to spend 10 minutes each day at my home observing birds during 2011. It was a great exercise and I really got to know “my” yard birds. They are fascinating in their own right.

Regardless of how seriously you wish to pursue this hobby, know that you are in good company. Birding is the fastest growing sport in the United States.

An amazing internet resource for birds in Monterey County has been compiled and is available for your use at this link.  Use the photos and comments on this list to become a better birder….Or, search for a good list on the internet for birds in your county or region.