So here we are on day 5 of our cruise, pulling into our southernmost port of call at sunrise – Monterey.
Today’s arrival was different than the others. For the first time in my limited cruising experience the ship remained anchored in the bay.
Which meant we would be ferried to shore by tender, a little boat like this one below.
I wasn’t looking forward to it. I mean really – so many people – in so many little boats? Surprisingly it worked fine. The departure times were staggered by group so there was little waiting and everything moved smoothly. Our group was based on our shore excursion.
Now the thing about cruising is you only have so much time on shore, which means you have to make the hard choices. Monterey is famous for its Aquarium but we’d been there before. So we chose a trip to Carmel along the famous 17 mile drive.
17 Mile Drive
According to Wikipedia, “17-Mile Drive is a scenic road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula in California, much of which hugs the Pacific coastline and passes famous golf courses, mansions and scenic attractions, including the Lone Cypress, Bird Rock and the 5,300-acre Del Monte Forest of Monterey Cypress trees. The drive serves as the main road through the gated community of Pebble Beach..”
We were happy to be on a bus after walking all over San Francisco the day before. We could relax and leave the driving to someone else. And the tour guide was a knowledgeable local who shared lots of stories – about the (rich) folks whose homes we would pass on our way to Pebble Beach and Carmel.
There were nature stops too. Our first was at Bird Rock, shared by sea lions, harbor seals, and many birds including brown pelicans, cormorants and gulls.
The road we traveled went through forests of Monterey Cypress which only grow here.
We stopped by the ‘Lone Cypress’ which unfortunately lost half itself in a storm last year. No, not this one –
Next up was Pebble Beach Golf Course where we neither ate nor drank nor played golf, though these folks did.
Maybe next time.
We arrived at the small town of Carmel – yes, where Clint Eastwood was once mayor – for lunch and shopping.
I wished we’d had more time. It’s clearly worth longer than the hour and a half we’d been allotted. We’ll add it to our list of future road trips.
Then it was back to Monterey where we were ferried back to our ship,
for a lovely dinner
The next two days would be spent at sea as we headed back to the Pacific Northwest for our final stop in Victoria before returning to Seattle.
Stay tuned for that! 🙂