I don't even know where to begin to talk about yesterday. We woke up early to go on a whale watching tour in Monterey Bay. It was a chilly morning, and we weren't wearing enough layers. It was pretty cold whenever the boat was moving, but I found a place shielded from the wind where I could huddle when the whales weren't in view. The bay was just full of humpback whales. After we got out about 15 miles into the bay, we could see them all around us. The captain of the boat would spot one, get up kind of close to it and then turn the engines off. We'd see the whale's fin peek up, then go back down, and we'd all be staring out into the ocean wondering where it would come up next. A couple of them got really close to the boat. What surprised me the most about the whales was the sound. With all the engines off, we could just hear an occasional bird flapping and the water sloshing gently against the boat. Then there'd be a huge woosh of air as the whale reached the surface to breathe. Then you'd hear gasps from the people and the clicking of their cameras. The first picture that I posted is actually 2 different whales. You can tell by the direction of the fin that the tail fluke belongs to a different whale.
Then we reached San Francisco, and wow. I've seen pictures of it before, so I thought I knew what to expect. I just always thought, "Who cares about a silly bridge," or "What a waste of beach space to put all those buildings there." I was so wrong. We were driving around, and I just kept saying, sometimes out loud or sometimes whispering to myself, "I didn't know it was going to be like this." Cory is going to have to pry me away, because I just don't want to leave.
So as I'm experiencing this overwhelming awe, we are driving around looking for our campsites. We knew it was just outside of Sausalito, so we drove through the town, bought a map, and finally found the "state recreation area" which is where the 2 camping sites are located. We ran into a teensy problem when we realized that you could only stay there if you had a reservation. Whoops! Beginners' mistake, I know; we should've known better than to try to stay near San Francisco without a reservation. In our defense, however, most of the campsites we've looked at had 2 areas: a reservations only and a "first come first serve" area. This one had one by reservation only and one "walk-in," which I took to mean like a barber shop "walk-in"- meaning you don't need an appointment. But no, it meant you do need a reservation, but you have to actually walk in using your two legs and not a motor vehicle. Like I said, whoops.
Next stop, Holiday Inn Express. So now we get to stay on Fisherman's Wharf, walk down three blocks to the "oldest Italian restaurant in the US" which my father suggested, and wander around the streets of SF, which we wouldn't have done otherwise. I'd really like to stay here a lot longer; I'd really like to move here actually. The camping really would have been beautiful, so we'll have to come back. We're headed out this afternoon, to Muir Woods and then further north. Even though I might like to pause it for a minute, the journey continues!