Saturday, March 27, 2010

California Vacation: Day 3

Whale Watching and Hugo's Tacos
Day 3 in California had us checking out of our Anaheim hotel and driving over to Dana Point Harbor. Many months ago, I won 4 Whale Watching Cruise tickets on Kristi's (she's a sweet, creative momma from Orange County, CA) blog, Orange Juice. I was thrilled to win a blog giveaway (no matter that the tickets had to be used in CALIFORNIA...I would use them...I just knew it!) Thank you, Kristi; we had so much fun! (and saved another $100...we just had to buy one $19 child ticket)
Here we were, leaving the harbor. I can't quite emphasize enough HOW MUCH my children (and husband) love animals - reading about them, watching shows about them...they BEG for any opportunity to watch National Geographic with Ryan in our bed. (It's one of the things we actually use as a reward or incentive.) I can only sit through about 5 minutes of a wildlife show before getting bored; I'm glad they take after Ryan on this one. They're always excitedly rattling off cool facts that they've learned from these programs. ("Momma, did you know...") They particularly love marine animals, (and I think Ryan wishes he could have been a marine biologist) so it was definitely cool for them to go out looking for real sea life.
I'm not sure if there are whale watching cruisers who do not keep animal's interests in mind, but our crew seemed very respectful and conscious of what they were doing. They kept a mindful distance from the animals, kept the boat at a slow speed and didn't watch any group of whales for too long. They made comments about not wanting to upset the animals or interfere with their natural patterns. Seems like a better alternative to Sea World to me.

The weather was PERFECT. We couldn't have asked for a better day.

We even got to see a bunch of sea lions up close.
They were so cute! We saw them flipping around and playing in the water, at all points throughout the trip, too. There were two levels on the boat. You can sit at booths up top or stand along the side down below.
They do not guarantee that you will see a whale during the trip. We got to see them a lot, though. The gray whales are passing through the California coats right now, on their migrating journey.
It was hard to get a good picture because by the time you see one pop up, you've missed the shot.
We could see and hear the water spray up from their blow hole each time, which was cool.
There were three of them in a group together.
The cruise was two hours long, and Sissy fell asleep during the last 15 minutes. The weather was so nice and breezy, I could have fallen asleep, too. I told Ryan we should start our own cruise adventure for people who just want to take a nap. We could just have a bunch of beds and hammocks lined up. I think it would be a hit.

So...Ryan asked me before we got on the boat if we should be concerned about seasickness. Tornado and I are the ones who usually get motion sickness. I told him we would probably be fine. For the first hour, I was thinking he had worried for nothing. And then it set in...ugh, I felt very seasick. I think if I could have just sat down the whole time, instead of walking all over the place, keeping up with the kids, I would have been okay. (But they did NOT fall overboard, Mom.)

Tornado started feeling woozy right about the same time that I did. He had to go to the restroom, and while we were in there...he puked. It made him feel a little better, but he was still a little out of it, as you can see (above). I think he even fell asleep on our way back into the harbor.

We had plans to hit the vegan pizza place on our way to the mountains, but we called and found out they weren't open yet that day. We checked my handy trip guide and found another place close to the freeway: Hugo's Tacos. It's a small taco stand with outdoor seating in Atwater Village. It's not completely vegetarian, but there is a list on the window of everything that is vegan. There were many items on the menu labeled organic, too, which I thought was interesting (cool!) for a place like this. I ordered the nachos with soy chorizo. I liked the layer of organic white beans at the bottom.
I think this would be one of my sister Tracy's favorite places to eat, if she lived nearby.

They even had soft-serve! It was delicious!

We got back into the car for our (approximately) 5 hour trip up to Sequoia National Park. It was dark by the time we made it up the, it was an incredibly winding road. I'm glad we got to drive the road at night, actually, because it just seemed so enchanting. We were surrounded by these abnormally large trees and deep ravines. There was just so much wildlife and just so much green everywhere, lit by the moonlight...we half expected an elf or a hobbit to pop out at any moment. It definitely made us excited for our next day.


Annette W. said...

Yeah....I can understand the seasickness...I get sick in the front seat of the car on some roads...most roads.

I will show Meghan the picture of Sissy eating ice cream!

Elizabeth Exley said...

You have THE cutest family.

Lori at The Davidson Den said...

Yay for sea lions! Yay for whale watching! No "yays" for puking, though. I've been there. Tell Tornado I know exactly how he felt. Our whale watching experience was a doozy!! How sweet that Sissy fell asleep.

Orange Juice said...

BUMMER for the sea sickness!!!! :(
But so awesome you saw the whales!!
I think that WW company is pretty great how the give you so much detail and seem to really care about the animals.