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California October 2007
on 15/10/2007


(Click on thumbs for larger image)


We caught the early flight to Heathrow and managed to to get on the connecting flight to Los Angeles in under 90 minutes. After the 10 hour flight we arrived in LAX picked up the hire SUV and headed for a pre-booked motel.

After waking up at 03:00 hours (11:00 UK time) we drove to Ventura, we thought driving at that time in the morning we would have a quiet time to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road and get used to the American roads.
It was not to be as the traffic was still busy and we managed to take a few wrong turns to, but still managed to get to Ventura around 05:30, so we went for breakfast before catching the dive boat at 07:00.

 

LA
A quick bumpy ride out on the Raptor got us to the Channel Islands.
 

1st Nudibranch at the bottom of the shot no less.
Spanish Shawl Nudibranch
(Flabellinopsis iodinea)
This seal came up and posed whilst we both took photos
 
 
This huge sea hare too.
 
We did 5 dives in two days with in Ventura:
Playing in the kelp.
Spotting some fish.
 
and some Nudibranchs

Laying Eggs
 
Sea Hares
Spiny Lobster
 
Some things we have not identified
On the way back to Ventura thee boat was surrounded by a pod of dolphins (approx 100/150)
 
After Ventura we had no specific plans other than diving in Monterey the following weekend.
We drove to OJAI Oh-Hi and had a look at the galleries, found a wine bar, and then had to find a Motel.
 
The motel was weird but the wine bar was great.
We asked the waitress in the wine bar where we should go and the Kon Tiki Inn in Pismo Beach.
On the way we went to Solvang to see the Californian Dutch Village. Took hazel about 20 mins before we had to escape
 

Picture of a Gnome for Gordon
We escaped to the Sunstone vineyard where Hazel proceeded to do the wine tasting. I was driving so could not take part. I'm sure the guilty feeling made the wine taste all the better!
 

Kon Tiki Inn
We liked the Inn so much when we got there we decided to book in for a second night. It was full, but by 11am the following day, someone had checked out and they were able to accommodate us...yipee.
We went to a premium shopping outlet.Ohhhh Shopping my favorite!
 
After two nights at the Kon Tiki we decided to head North towards Monterey along the Costal Road.
 
Duck Shoppe!
We drove through Big Sur national Park, and at one point there are Elephant seals on the beach.
Just be glad you we don't have scratch and smell monitors!
 

This is the SUV we hired. It was a similar size as my Mitsubishi, however it was one of the smaller cars on the roads.
 
 
We arrived in Monterey with a day to spare before we were due to go diving. Everyone we met seemed to rave about the Aquarium, so we had to go and investigate
The aquarium lived up to expectations. There were Sea and fresh water otter enclosures, large Kelp tanks. However these living Jellyfish displays where superb.

The large tank was immense. It held two SunFish, Tuna, Hammerheads, and a small White shark to name a few. Anyway the next day we were back Diving.
 
More Nudibranchs
The diving was deeper and the kelp was still with us below 20m.

Trying to get the kelp back into the boat!
 

Seals in the harbor
 

Otter in the harbor

Welsh Shop
Monterey for some strange reason has lots of 'British' pubs. Complete with red telephone box and Union Jack tables.
 
 
2nd Day dives
 
 
We enjoyed the boat dives so much we stayed an extra day and did some shore diving. See Video of the Seals below ;-)
 
Flat fish in these somewhere!
 
After Monterey we headed to another shopping center this time only 145 shops. Oh and this was Gilroy - The home of Garlic!

Golden Gate
After Gilroy we drove through the heavy traffic to San Francisco.

Alcatraz
This tall ship (Balclutha) was built in Glasgow.
 

Liberty Ship
(behind the sub)

Yep you guessed it. More Shopping.
Leaving San Fansisco.
 
We took the 407 back south. Lets just say that Fresno isn't a great place to visit.
We stopped at a motel in Bakersfield to break up the journey. And arrived in Hollywood on Friday.
 
 
 
We visited the Getty Center which was awesome.
Fantastic architecture, and the odd bit of art too!
 
(Well OK a hugh amount of art)
 
Our final day we spent around little venice in LA.
 

Then we had the 10 hour flight back to heathrow to enjoy;-)

Oh yeah the seal video (Quicktime):

or from u-tube:

 

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Updated 12 May 2017, 11:0:39