Day 10: Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Monterey-Salinas-Watsonville-Santa Cruz Debacle

October 19
Mileage 5
Monterey to Santa Cruz

In the dark of the dorm the rambling Asian shuffles in and gets into bed. At least I’m not the last one in tonight. Liquidy snorting sounds erupt below me. And they go on and on. Drippy, squishy lasts at least 5 minutes. I have to hold back a laugh. Is this some kind of nose cleanse? Dude, is anyone else listening to this? No wonder she gets sick.

A portion of the naturalist conferencers convene at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for our private VIP behind-the-scenes tour. It’s also Fiesta del Mar day and kids 12 and under get in free. This translates into an aquarium full of screaming kids. That aside, MBA is incredible. So much care and preservation goes into that place. The older exhibits are better than the new ones. Or am I just getting old?

I sit with the kids on the floor below the giant kelp tank. It’s feeding time. We gaze up with awe. This is special. The large bass and sheepshead put in a good performance.

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The ocean is an amazing world. People like to go sit at the ocean’s edge but there’s so much more to it. A world worth exploring.

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After a stop at Monterey’s premier brewery Peter B’s, I head to the transit center to catch a bus to Santa Cruz. As I unload the bags from my bike, cycle tourist Kirk pops off a bus and it turns out he’s going to Santa Cruz too. The guy standing next to us says that the last bus for the day has already left. What? But we’re early. Since when do buses arrive and depart early? Damn.

Two minutes later we pile onto the last bus of the day to Salinas. After a 40 minute wait we catch a bus to Watsonville. Then we scramble onto the next bus that’s leaving for Santa Cruz. Don’t forget that with each transfer comes the task of moving our bikes and panniers. Kirk gets off a few stops before me so he can camp at New Brighton again. I finally get to the hostel around 9pm, 3 hours later than I’d originally planned. Long day.

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