Butterflies, Piers and Tales o’ the Sea

We woke and enjoyed the views of the Pacific Ocean we’d missed out on the night before. The fog had lifted, and so also had the darkness! The view from the balcony was really quite pleasant. The Inn at the Cove sits on a cliff with a small offshore island straight out front, and some dramatic views along the coast. There is something really amazing looking out on an ocean that holds such a mystery to me. I’ve grown up with the Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean being ever present, the thoughts of the Blue Pacific Ocean and all its islands fills with me excitement. It is wonderful to be looking back out at this ocean once again.
We enjoyed a nice big breakfast at the hotel, during which I accidently skipped a woman in the queue to make waffles. To add insult to injury, I didn’t have a clue how to make them, so the poor woman not only had to swallow her irritation at me skipping her, but then assist in me getting my waffles first. And to make it even more cringeworthy, I’d used the last of the waffle mixture, so she had to wait a few minutes for the staff to get her more. Suffice to say I didn’t exactly enjoy my waffles! I tried to hide as best as I could when she finally came past with her waffles! I hope they were worth waiting for!
So after filling up on waffles, we hopped in the car and drove down to Pismo Beach itself. There is something wonderful about piers that stretch out pass the breakers. We don’t have any that I can think of here in Ireland, not too sure why. But they definitely hold a certain romanticism for me, of catching that big fish, going for a stroll with a loved one, sitting for hours feeding the seagulls when I’m really old. That sort of thing. We parked up in a parking lot in front of the pier for a very reasonable 1 dollar per hour and strolled out on to the pier. I loved the big wooden structure with what looked like railway sleepers underfoot. There were some big gaps between some of the sleepers, and you could see the water foaming below. The structure would shudder and strain against the power of the Pacific Rollers making their way to their final resting place on the beach. We really enjoyed this experience, and you could tell the locals loved it too. There were people out strolling, sitting relaxing, leaning out over the wooden pier fishing or watching the surfers riding the big waves to shore. It was a really Californian way to spend an hour.

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The wonderful pier and breakers at Pismo Beach

Before we left Pismo Beach, we couldn’t go without checking out the Monarch Butterfly Grove in a small wooded area just south of Pismo Beach. These butterflies do two things that are world famous. They make huge migrations north and south along America, and also gather in huge numbers in these Butterfly Groves to protect themselves from the cold (we assume). There were researchers there, and had scopes set up. They were able to tell us lots of things about the butterflies, and we got to see the clumps of butterflies. They are probably not called clumps, I just wasn’t listening properly. Being butterflies, a group of them is probably called something far more elegant like a ballet of butterflies. Who knows, I could scour the internet for the answer, but where is the fun in that? But for sure, it was another really interesting experience, and I’m glad I got to see one of these natural wonders of our world.

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Early Morning Pismo Beach, love the sea mist

Unfortunately, we had to get underway again. Our itinerary for our Pacific Coast Highway adventure was always going to be a little hectic. Our destination this evening was Pacific Heights near Monterey, so we had a bit of driving to do.
We drove on along the 101 through San Luis Obispo and made our way back onto US1 to our next stop at the truly wonderful Morro Rock. There is no way you can mistake that you are in Morro Rock, the rock formation just dominates the vista. We parked up at the harbour itself, which has lots of parking.

The harbour is like a scene from an old salty dog film, old wooden docks, pelicans hovering around waiting for fish, old dirty boats, some half sunk, piles of rope and lobster pots. I can only imagine the tales of giant whales, and strange creatures in the murky depths, that must have been told while leaning over the rusted, rustic harbour walls.  If I could fill my home with that kind of rugged charm I would.

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Morro Rock in all its glory

In the Harbour was “Lil Hut” a small take away shack where you can get fresh seafood with a nice big portion of chips. I tried the Clam Chowder and it was gorgeous. We sat out on a bench and tucked in, taking in the wonderful location. We will have to stop here for a night next time.

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The kitchen gets pretty hot, so the big chimneys are a vital addition to the building!!

After a big lunch we needed to walk it off, so felt that a good stroll up to Morro Rock itself would be the solution. Along the way, we spied some adorable little Sea Otters gliding and lazing in the little inlet that protects the harbour. They looked very chilled out and why wouldn’t they living in such a relaxed community. The only thing ruining the area, was the giant and I mean giant power station (I assume), equally as imposing as Morro Rock. It just feels out of place in its surroundings, but then when does a giant power station look in its place really?
As we walked up, I thought it would be a good idea to get the car and move it down closer to Morro Rock itself, that way saving us time having to walk all the way back to where the car was parked. This ended up being a mistake, as when I parked next to the beach (we’d agreed to meet at the beach), I couldn’t find Gina anywhere. I have to say it didn’t take long for a small amount of panic to ensue. Long story short, after a good look around I eventually spotted Gina and Harry coming back towards me from a different angle. As it turns out they’d gone to the beach alright, but a different one to the one I’d went to. They had totally missed the massive beach on the north of Morro Rock and proceeded to the tiny one on the south of it! Admittedly the beach on the south was pretty cool, with surfers taking on the waves in the entrance to the inlet. Oh well, valuable time wasted, but at least we were reunited.

Goodbye Morro Rock, me aul shipmate! Hope ye enjoyed me sea shanty.

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