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California Part 6: Otters at Moss Landing

This is a blog that came about by pure luck. Having left San Francisco (see part 5), Matt and I headed down the coast to Santa Cruz for the night, hoping to catch some surf and lazy beach time the following day. The Californian weather had other ideas so, after some fish tacos from a vendor on the pier for breakfast, we jumped in the car and continued South down the Pacific Coast Highway towards Big Sur (our roughly planned destination for that evening).

We'd only be driving for 45 minutes when I saw a turn-off for Moss Landing. I still don't know what inspired me to pull over (Wikipedia says nothing of any real interest about the place) but I'm so glad I did. We drove for a couple of minutes down a track but didn't seem to be going anywhere so we turned around and headed back to the main road. Just before joining the carriageway, we spotted some tourists leaning over the side of a small bridge which crossed the mouth of the lagoon. We decided to park up and see what the fuss was about - worst case scenario, we could have pushed them all into the water and made a run for it...but we didn't have to!

Beneath the bridge was a family of otters, diving for mussels and frolicking playfully in the water. What I assume were the mother and father seemed to be on lunch duty, plunging below the surface and grabbing mussels from the rocks before crunching through the shells and passing them over to the two pups. Previously, I'd only seen wild otters from a long distance but here they were now, right under my nose.

I shot quite a few photos as well as some snippets of video which you can see below. If you watch the video, I suggest putting the sound on as you can hear the otters' powerful teeth crunching through the shells as well as high-pitched squeals from the hungry pups, impatient for lunch.

(Click on image to enlarge)

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Still to come in this California blog series: giant redwoods, elephant seals and hidden coves. So keep your eyes peeled and I'll see you again soon!


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