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Posts Tagged ‘Morro Bay California’

Morro Bay, California – Sea Stars, Sand Dollars & Surfers

Posted by Jody on October 15, 2013

We just love returning to the beaches of Morro Bay, California. Nestled on the Pacific Ocean about half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay is home to one of the most fascinating coastal environments you’ll find anywhere.

Sea Star, Morro Bay, California (Photo by Jody Diehl)

Our family loves exploring the tide pools near “El Morro” (aka: Morro Rock). We’re never disappointed with the rich variety of marine life we find near the rocky breakwater.

Heading out to explore the tide pools in almost any weather is well worth the time and energy. You’ll be so glad you did. Keep your eyes open! You’ll have to look under and around rocks to spot the beautifully colored sea stars and sea anemones. Smaller crabs will scurry into the riprap, waving and drumming their pincers to warn you off. It’s a really cool sound (Don’t worry about embarrassing them, though – they never seem put off that you’re laughing at their bravado)! The larger crabs won’t pay you any mind at all. Years ago, Greg and I even came across a young seal resting on the sand. That was a real bonus!

The Crab Who Didn’t Care, Morro Bay, California (Photo by Jody Diehl)

On the way back toward town, check out the bay side water to see if you can catch a glimpse of the very entertaining otters.

If bird watching is your jive, the Morro Bay area is home to over 250 species of birds (including peregrine falcons), a fact that this quaint fishing village celebrates each year with the Winter Bird Festival weekend.

Beach and coastal activities are numerous in Morro Bay. If you check out the beach to the north of Morro Rock, you’ll inevitably find surfers, even if they’re just hanging out waiting for the next set of waves. This strand is also where a bounty of sand dollars can be found (be careful not to collect the live ones).

If you look to the south of Morro Rock toward the placid waters of the protected bay, you’ll see kayaks gliding amongst the moored sail boats.

Kayak in Morro Bay, California (©Jody Diehl)

It always seems to be a bit misty when we’re visiting Morro Bay, and mornings can be pretty nippy out on the water. You might want to wear layers and bring along rain gear, just in case. Your sturdy beach-trekkers will be perfect for climbing over the uneven rocks around the tide pools.

Where is your favorite tide pooling spot? We’d love to hear about it!


Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Northern California Beaches, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Weekend’s Rock!

Posted by Jody on January 5, 2013

Morro Rock

Morro Rock, a (California) State Historic Landmark, was formed about 23 million years ago from the plugs of long-extinct volcanoes. Morro Rock was an important navigational aid for mariners for over 300 because the rock is approximately 576 feet tall which made it the most visible in a chain of nine peaks. Portuguese explorer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo named the rock “El Morro” in 1542. In Spanish “Morro” means crown shaped hill. Morro Rock, sometimes called the “Gibraltar of the Pacific,” is the last peak of the Nine Sisters, which extend from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay.

The rock itself was mined on and off until 1963. Morro Rock provided material for the break water of Morro Bay and Port San Luis Harbor. In 1966 a bill was introduced which transferred the full title to the State of California.

Source: City of Morro Bay

Morro Rock is now a designated sanctuary for many bird species, including the Peregrine Falcon.

Morro Rock, Morro Bay, California

Morro Bay is one of our family’s favorite places for tidepooling. There’s something quite magical about heading out in the misty morning hours to find colorful sea stars in the pools around Morro Rock at low tide.

For more reading on Morro Bay, check out our post “Morrow Bay, California – Sea Stars, Sand Dollars & Surfers.”

Where is your favorite beach rock?


Posted in Northern California Beaches, Weekend's Rock | Tagged: , , , | 14 Comments »

California Beach… Squirrels?

Posted by E.G.D. on May 30, 2012

Beach Squirrel, Morro Bay, California

Seriously?  Beach squirrels?  Really?  Well, it would seem so!  I’m sure there are a lot of Californians out there who are shrugging their shoulders at me and saying, “what, you don’t have beach squirrels in Hawaii, Texas, Japan, England or any of those other places you’ve lived near beaches?”  The answer is: perhaps so, but I’ve never seen one.  Mom (better known around here as Jody) proposes that perhaps it’s not that there aren’t beach squirrels elsewhere, but that the elsewhere squirrels aren’t as incredibly bold as the ones in California.  That would make sense!  Just this morning, I’ve read three newspaper articles about bold little California beach squirrels, which are actually standard ground squirrels that hang out on beaches.  On top of that, please note that all of these photos were taken by Jody in Morro Bay, CA, and they’re practically posing!  No skittish squirrels on California beaches, no sirree.

Beach Squirrel, Morro Bay, California

According to Kelly Stewart at the La Jolla Light, “you can find these furry little rodents running all over the cliffs in La Jolla, munching on ice plants and roots, and then disappearing into a burrow at the first sight of an approaching dog. Mottled brown and white, California ground squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi) are found throughout California, and along other parts of the West Coast of the United States… visitors to the coastal bluffs here in town enjoy watching these inquisitive little mammals.”  Farther north along the coast, a writer for the LA Times (way back in 1996) said that beach squirrels in Ventura have “scratched out a comfortable existence on the Pacific shore for as long as anyone can remember.”  That particular old article is a lot of fun to read, and I recommend it to anyone curious about California beach squirrels.  The gist of it is that the community is of two minds about coexisting with squirrels, but the squirrels themselves aren’t really of two minds about anything.  The article also mentions that you might want to keep your distance because A) feeding squirrels is actually against the law on California parkland, and B) squirrels can carry fleas that can carry the bubonic plague (though it also mentions that there hadn’t been reports of such cases near the actual beach).

Morro Bay, California

Less professional sources on the subject also exist in spades.  There’s an entire humorous website dedicated to reporting on and posting videos of squirrels called “Scary Squirrel World” that reports a “Bushytail Beach Bullies Crisis in Carmel.”  There are upward of 60 videos on YouTube dealing with Morro Bay beach squirrels alone!  It amazes me that so many people on the internet are willing to use so much time and energy to spread the word about beach squirrels, but hey, I’ve just found myself spending the morning doing exactly that, so goodness knows I’m one to talk.

Say “Cheese!”

Have a great day at the beach, everyone, and please feel free to share your photos and stories with us if you happen to spot a particularly interesting squirrel.  -E.G.D.

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Pacific Coast Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

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