I wasn’t sure I was going to like Morro Bay at the beginning of the day but as we prepare for bed at the end of the day in our little room overlooking the Rock I realise I love it. That may be helped by the rather lovely’ thresher shark in Cajun mushroom cream sauce’, a glass or two of local red wine and the rather brain whistling ‘oyster shots’ that have just been consumed at the seaview restaurant. Those oyster shots are eye watering. Two bloody Marys with oysters in them…..to die for. But actually the little town has grown on us as the day progressed.
We start with a walk around the two little roads that have shops and the two that have hotels and hearts are sinking. Firstly it’s the second day of the holiday and everything is closed and no-one is around. Secondly the town is a little like Margate on mogadon on first impressions. If Carmel was ‘ying’ of the West Coast this place is definitely the ‘yang’. But hey ….let’s not judge yet.
We take a stroll out to the famous Rock. This, for the geologists and geographers, ( if Pete Bamford is reading for instance) is a volcanic plug. It is certainly a land mark to be reckoned with. And it hosts two pairs of Peregrin falcons. One of the pairs is seen chasing off a red tailed hawk as we approach. We also see an otter lying on its back in the bay eating a shellfish. The Californian zoological tour continues with herons, egrets and brown pelicans in abundance and as we reach the first little beach a little squirrel like creature comes out from the rocks and hunts in the sand for food. I swear it’s a gopher and they are probably as common as our grey squirrel but we are very excited as it approaches and begs food. I almost hesitate to mention the sea lions that prowl here and there. We are getting sea-lioned out by now.
We take a walk on North Beach. It is five miles long and we decide to go half way and return via the sand dunes as a nippy breeze is blowing up and driving the many surfers ashore. Along the breaking wave line are an abundance of curlews and other wading birds with assorted beak shapes all probing the sand for the little crabs and worms that must abound.
This afternoon we decide to go to the Montana de Oro state park to see if we can catch another sunset. We follow our noses and end up on a magnificent beach on the sandspit that must be ten miles long. We walk toward the setting sun and are amused and entertained by the thousands of waders that are taking their last chance to feed. Most entertaining are the snowy plovers. They are a small bird perhaps the size of a big thrush and they hunt in huge family groups. They scurry like little crabs chasing the ebb and flow of the breaking water but never getting their toes wet. When one bird finds a crab the rest of the mob chase it. Their little legs look like they are whirring they move so fast and in such unison. They are a threatened bird and efforts are being made here to protect the dunes and their nesting places. The dunes on this beach rise to 80 feet in places and are very impressive especially as the sun begins to set and they take on a reddish hue.
And soon the sun is going and we are privvy to one of the most incredible sunsets I have ever seen. Marilyn comments that it has become like the living painting of William Blake. The clouds adopt the changing pinks, reds and crimsons and the sand and sea and rocks are transformed. The birds sense it too and go on a last frenzy of feeding with seagulls and pelicans diving into the sea. These are ten minutes to always remember and when I see the photos later they are just as it was. I don’t believe in God but Jesus that was something else.
And so back the few miles to Morro to search out our shark and swordfish dinner. And all the people eating here are real people and the folk serving are genuine and the view over the little working harbour is to die for.
And the Morro Oyster shots……well….I really am in love with the place.