One of the big things I love to do is show people some doable adventures. Trekking across foreign lands is wonderful but most people can only do that every of couple years. I believe that adventure is everywhere and doesn't have to break the bank. So, for my first Monica Goes adventure of 2016 I decided to go kayaking and whale watching and have a full-on ocean adventure. With sites like Groupon and Living Social, it's easier than ever to find unique local adventures. I found a full day of personal kayaking for $15 and a whale watching tour for two people for $19! Doesn't get much easier than that!
We headed out to Newport Beach around 6 am to beat the LA traffic and get a good start on the water. It was a cold and cloudy January day but beautiful! Our kayaking was through Balboa Kayaks and Mike met us at a private beach area to launch from. The coolest thing about Balboa kayaks compared to other kayak rentals at Newport Beach, is that because they're located at the end of the marina you can experience open water kayaking.
About 10 minutes into our kayaking, a friendly seal popped up about 5 feet from out us! I've never been that close to one before and he seemed to follow us for the rest of our adventure! As we neared the end of the marina we could see that the rocks were COVERED in seals and sea lions. Some appeared to be close to 8 feet long and they were just piled on top of one another.
But the coolest moment was seeing a dolphin in front of us! Maybe 30 feet from the edge of the marina I saw a fin pop up! Luckily it did turn out to be a dolphin as we saw it popping up and down. What an incredible experience. After relaxing in the open water for about 30 minutes we headed back to the beach.
Leave it to me to add to the excitement because there was a little sand cove on the opposite side of the marina that I decided to check out. The waves were pretty choppy that day and when I went to get out of my kayak my phone plopped into the water and in trying to rescue it my backpack and clothes went in as well. I dove in and rescued my phone which miraculously still worked but now cold and wet was ready to be done.
When we reached the beach, we called Mike back up and he told us where to leave the kayaks. It was so simple, relaxing (slightly adventurous), and beautiful I highly recommend finding the nearest kayaking place to you and getting on the water!
After a quick change of clothes and lunch we headed to the pier to go whale watching. I had gone once before in the summer but didn't see any whales so I was hoping to change that today. We checked in at Davey's Locker, got our tickets and hopped on board. After about 40 minutes of cruising and seeing loads of pelicans and dolphins we stumbled upon a rare sight; a seal eating a shark! We spent about 30 minutes shouting in awe every time the seal popped up above water shaking the shark in it's mouths while birds tried to get scraps nearby. It was such a crazy sight and flip of the food chain it was amazing to witness. I even got some cool drone footage from above from Slater Moore Photography for my episode.
After a little bit we stopped because a grey whale had been spotted. Here's the unfortunate thing...because he didn't come up too often and when he did it was all over the water it was difficult to spot. Every time I seemed to be on one side of the boat waiting in anticipation he'd pop up on the other and then by the time I ran over there to get a glimpse he was back on the opposite side. So while most people DID get to see a whale, I was so busy trying to get a shot of him for the episode that I missed the whale entirely. A good lesson to sometimes put my phone down and enjoy the view!
Overall, this was an incredibly simple, affordable, and amazing adventure that's so easy to do! Whether you do one or both, being on the water is such a nice sensation and a great local adventure getaway. Check out Balboa Kayaking and Davey's Locker for more information and watch the entire episode in 4k below!