2985. Two thousand nine hundred and eighty five miles and now I have stopped driving. I'm in San Francisco, sitting eating Sushi as I write this update.
Yesterday I was in Monterey and in the morning set off onto the bay to hunt for whales. Now, I strongly suspected that the boat company's claims of a 99% whale hit-rate were overstated. I mean they're bound to claim that to get you on board, right? And it's unverifiable, right? And anyway, I'm bound to jinx that, right? Well, imagine how smug I was when after an hour of hammering off some massive ocean swells all there had been on the aquatic mammal front was a solitary sea-otter. Then a pod of maybe 7 dolphins turned up, of which maybe 3 or 4 were calves. OK, not whales. But then...
Maybe 500 dolphins (our over-enthusiastic marine biologist guide is responsible for the numbers). Seriously. The water was be-finned, foaming and frothing in all directions. Absolute bedlam. But not a whale.
No, next up was TWO whales, humpbacks, diving and feeding. Doing the whole sticking the tail in the air thing. Amazing. I'd have paid more to stay longer. Instead the captain turned us around and back to port.
Now, Monterey is a beautiful little place, so a shoreline stroll turned up basking sealions, the elegantly converted Cannery Row and then the Aquarium. Which was not bad by any stretch of the imagination, housed in a great building with some amazing tall tanks. But just a bit of a let down after the morning's fun, with the highlight being some amazing seahorses.
Today's drive into SF was spoiled by some heavy fog, so my early arrival allowed for a quick start. Straight down Market St to the Ferry buildings and then round the Embarcadero. I happened upon the Alcatraz tour pier, so off I went. The waters were choppy, but nowhere near yesterday due to the natural bay, and Alcatraz loomed nearer than anticipated. Of course, having arrived to NY with strong winds I was going to get the same treatment on exiting via SF. On several occasions I was almost blown off my feet. Literally. And I know what literally literally means. The rock itself almost blew me off my feet. Metaphorically. And I know etc...
Considering it had such a short operational life it has gained an enormous reputation. It's a pretty daunting place, and the general state of decay adds to the oppressive atmosphere. Much of the island remains closed off as the buildings have crumbled into empty shells, but it was still worth the trip to see.
I finished off the day with a stroll round the remaining piers, catching the sealions at 49, and heading back to check in at the hotel via the tiny, narrow, twistyturny Lombard St. The hilly streets were an exhausting climb, so tomorrow I get a bus pass.