Saturday, November 19, 2011

Farewell, Morro Bay

The rest of our stay in Morro Bay was as pleasant as the start. We enjoyed meeting Barry and Connie from S/V Rage. (We never did get the story on that boat name guys, but here in San Diego, we have seen its complements:  Anchor Management and Angler Management !) 

Every time I went out in Morro Bay, I found something new and interesting to do and a thriving sense of community. There is a wonderful park on the Embarcadero where the Morro Bay chess club meets for serious games every Saturday from 10:00-2:00. The picnic tables in the park all have chess boards built into them, and there is a giant chess board made of cement tiles in the middle of the park. The outsized chess pieces, the size of small children, are available for anyone's use on Saturdays (you have to rent them at other times) and are monitored by volunteers from the chess club who, at 2:00, return them to their locked cabinet in the park. 

Morro Bay Chess Club

Centennial Park, Morro Bay

On my second trip to Morro Rock, I came across members from the Peregrine Falcon Watch. Had the falcons been in their nest and not out hunting, I'm sure they would have offered to show me them through the spotting scopes they had set up. As it was, they answered my questions about the falcons and showed me a huge photo album of pictures from local photographers:  the falcons in hunting, feeding, mating, and chick-rearing modes. 

One stormy day,  there was a feeding frenzy off the stern of our boat. Small packs of half a dozen sea lions would cross our stern, arcing and snorting through the water. Dozens of pelicans folded in everything they had, including those tremendous pouches under their bills, and plummeted pointy-end first into the water like aircraft gone wrong. They made a tremendous crash when they landed and came up shortly afterwards, with fish in the mouth more often than not. There must have been some bait fish moving through the estuary because we only saw this level of feeding activity once. We tried taking some video footage of the action, but didn't really get anything that captured what we were seeing.

While humans are not exactly an afterthought in Morro Bay, one gets the sense that room is made for other species. The activities of humans and the activities of other wildlife seem more in balance there. We really enjoyed this peaceful stop before southern California.

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