The dolphins swim lazily by, appearing out of the water with a nonchalance that can be felt all the way inside the house. They own this bay. It’s theirs and they seem to be reminding us that even though they get to chose when to make an appearance, it’s still a privilege to be able to see them.
The dolphins never acknowledge the humans, but the sea-lions are fascinated by us. They pop their heads out of the water when we glide by in the kayaks, eyes following us along, nothing malicious or guarded, just dark orbs filled with curiosity and a hint of mischief.
We worry about the sea-lions jumping into the boats; they look like they think it might be fun, but the dolphins swim on by as though we were never there.
The pelicans are the ones I love to watch the most despite my aversion to birds and my childhood love for dolphins. They’re so gangly and prehistoric looking as they glide through the air – like something right out of Jurassic Park, then they drop, swooping down for a closer look at the water. A quick ascent followed by an even faster dive – straight like an arrow into the water. A precision strike. As engaging as the hunt might be, we never have the satisfaction of knowing if they got the fish. You see nothing in their beaks when they as they pop back out of the water. And yet I never tire of watching them.
These are the things we see every weekend from the comfort of my wonderful inlaws’ beach house. We are surrounded by the marvels that fill the Monterey Bay. The sea-kelp that grows 17 inches a day, building lush forests for the sea-otters to live in. The other birds that flock to the bay to feed. Even the jellyfish that make sporadic appearances.
It’s a magical world that so few ever get to experience and I watch my girls, running up the beach, collecting broken shells and cool rocks. Will all of this turn them into future marine biologists, hell bent on preserving what they grew up loving, or will they take it forever for granted – just the backdrop to their lazy weekends at the beach?