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Kayaking In Elkhorn Slough

December 22, 2016

The Elkhorn Slough (pronounced ”slew”) is a vast tidal marsh midway between Santa Cruz and Monterey that offers spectacular, up-close views to kayakers of sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions and a wealth of birds. We spent three happy hours in the yellow-bounded area on the map below.


The fun began in the harbor itself: I spotted my first sea otter moments after pushing off from the dock and we passed a large harem of harbor seals sunning themselves on a sand bar in the marina. We next made for a herd of noisy, contentious sea lions that occupied a dock at the opposite end of the marina. And then we passed under the bridge visible in the aerial photo above right and headed into the slough.

Happy girls!


We were close enough to hear the sharp, cracking sounds of otters munching shellfish (an adult eats 30 pounds day!). Their sinuous diving and cavorting was mesmerizing.


That’s a habor seal in the foreground below, and those elongated ”rocks“ on the shore are also seals.


In a shallow cove, Emily dipped her hand into the sand and came up with a living sand dollar.

After our kayak adventure, we toasted ourselves in an outdoor jacuzzi. Then les girls enjoyed massages and Cathy hiked Millie through the Marina Dunes Preserve, pictured above and below.


We reconvened to admire the sunset and to watch the flames in a firepit as the sky darkened.