Santa Cruz, Calif., wasn't originally on my list of cities to visit. But sometimes, the best moments come when you skip the planning part.
Here's a far-off view of the old timey Santa Cruz boardwalk from the pier. My sister's in-laws, Janet and Peter, graciously showed me around.
A flotilla of kayers ...
... and a lone paddler on a board ...
... which way to the boardwalk?
So one of the coolest things about the Santa Cruz boardwalk is what's underneath. You can look down in certain spots to see the beams below and, if you are lucky, catch a glimpse of a sea lion!
We saw a half-dozen or more. Some had jumped onto the beams and were staring up at the human faces above. Some were splashing about. Some were honking and swimming and splashing.
And I swear some were posing for us! It was as if they knew we were in awe.
I liked this one's lazy position.
As if the sea lions weren't enough of a treat, we had another spotting before we left the area. Up by the surfing statue and the surfers, we were just turned around to leave when we heard a huge splash followed by a huge gasp from the crowd. What the....???
There was a whale off the coast — actually, two! One fluke had a bit of white on it. They were frolicking together, spouting and dipping above and below the water line. Janet and Peter said they had never seen two whales so close to the shore before. Fun, fun!