Drive South

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (63.8mm, f/9, 1/450 sec, ISO200)

From Monterrey to San Simeon. Direction South on Highway number 1. Leave the clouds behind.

This is a fantastic stretch of road! US highways as we know them from our trips in the South West are long, lonely roads that are drawn with a lineal. This one is different. Following the coast line of California there are many bents and the road constantly goes up and down. Quite tiresome and that’s why we have chosen San Simeon as our next stop. There is another reason to stay overnight there but more about that in the next blog post.

We had a short hike somewhere down the road first where I spotted something in the kelp. A closer look revealed that all those dark spots were sea otters. About 40 to 50 of them. Too far away for a good shot but of course I had to take another picture of the biggest group of sea otters I have seen so far.At that time I didn’t know that I would have a much better chance to take some sea otter images further later in our trip.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (200mm, f/9, 1/340 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (115.9mm, f/8, 1/220 sec, ISO200)

Plus some seals from above. Can you find all six? I have no idea where they all wear camouflage. There are no predators from above. At least not in the last couple of millions years. I doubt a bald eagle exposes a treat to them.

But I think they need to match the sea floor and in case they are swimming close to the surface their white bellies should also help to keep them invisible. They are save on land but not so much in the sea. The sea close to Monterey is rich of sea life and that includes sharks and even great white sharks. No wonder the seals and sea lions try to spend as much time on land as possible. Every time they go to get some food they risk their lives. Just imagine that you would risk your life every time you go out for dinner! If that’s that case for you I would suggest to consider a different neighborhood.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (18mm, f/10, 1/280 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (42.5mm, f/8, 1/450 sec, ISO200)

Back to the road. It is not quite as lonely and romantic as you might think looking at those images. The highway number 1 is where all tourists meet. Some at the end of their vacation or like us at the beginning. They all have to drive here even though there is the interstate number 5 that let you go North or South much faster. But if you chose the interstate you trade the Pacific ocean for fields of potatoes and garlic.

That’s why we all drive here along the coast. To get a little piece of what the USA makes so desirable. The sea, sunny beaches and to just ride along in a big car. Preferable with a V8 engine. Somewhere down the road I started to count the Ford Mustangs. After I reached 100 I gave up. They come in different colours but they have two things in common:  practicably all of them are convertibles and they are all rented. Rented by tourists that want to live the American dream at least for three weeks a year.

But not me. I’m a more practical guy. I always rent a Chevy Tahoe. 😉

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (40.7mm, f/10, 1/500 sec, ISO200)