I had a birthday a few years ago that found me pretty ill. I’m never actually sure if I’m allowed to call hangovers illnesses since they’re self-inflicted, temporary, just punishments, etc. Anyway, I was not well and my friend had made this plan to take me kayaking near Monterey Bay. I lay in my bed that morning in a state of dread. Hours in a car to go sit in a boat did not sound like a good idea. Plus, I knew she had arranged for us to go on a tour and while there certainly was some comfort in knowing that we would not be left to our own devices, overbearing, micromanaging tour guides are really not among the things I enjoy in life.
All of this to tell you about how wonderful it is to take a kayaking tour on the Elkhorn Slough. First, Monterey is so much closer than it seems like it will be. The drive is over before you know it. I braced myself for hours of confinement that day and was released before I even had gotten a proper sense of captivity. The tour was structured in what was, in my mind, the best way a tour could be structured. The slough is quite a labyrinth, so we had a knowledgeable leader who stayed ahead of what he allowed to be quite a loose group behind him. He would answer questions when asked and offer only the most interesting and/or pertinent information. Other than that we could just meander. Or spin the kayak in circles, if it seemed funny for a moment. It’s also beautiful, a great place for wildlife spotting and a lot of other things that I shouldn’t be short-shifting in this way, except I think that I can justify myself by saying that describing Monterey’s natural resources isn’t quite as useful as letting you know that they’re more accessible than you may have thought them to be.