A day in Santa Cruz

This wave design was inspired by the whales. The whales! 

On a sunny Tuesday in October, Alvaro, our Colombian friend from Miami, that now lives in Redwood City, called us up for a mission. "Take me to the Aquarium". He is new to the Bay Area and I immediately understood that he was talking about the Monterrey Aquarium. I have only been there with my family and young cousins. Never before did a buddy tell me that he wanted to visit. Considering there would be three dudes in one sedan, my first thought was to take the cutesy aquarium experience to a more –ehem– extreme level. Santa Cruz. A great opportunity to go to the beach and enjoy the sunset, like four dudes in the height of their youth ought to do.

I am a non-believer in well-ahead planing, because better stories come out when you don't plan a road trip.

And so a righteous story happened.

As we get to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, we knew that we wanted to play with the waves –perhaps surf like dudes ought to do– except the ocean may as well have been Donner lake at the height of winter – Still as glass.

We then decided to rent paddle boards. Four guys, no waves –and no babes– and the adrenaline rush of riding Santa Cruz' early fall flat waves. (Albeit Alvaro, very poker-facedly opted for a kayak last minute.)

As we charged into the pacific ocean on our very aggressive paddle boards, one of us noticed an odd splash in the distance, and people on fancy sailboats awing, ooing, and clapping. Three beautiful Humpback whales were swimming just a few feet away from the pier. Between the months of April through November, as it turns out, the “local” population of hundreds of Humpbacks are known to spend their time some distance off the Mexican Coast, then migrate to the central California coast for the feeding season. And Monterey Bay is a most abundant food source for these beautiful cetaceans. They were just there, chilling in the water, next to the rich folk on sailboats. We began to paddle closer, but were pleasantly surprised to find the whales actually swam toward us, and we have photos to prove it! (Here are some for you to check out)

Swimming with whales definitely checked one more thing off our bucket list –and ended up making the aquarium experience seem like a circus act. It was unreal, and at times it would seem scary how close they came to us, but somehow we weren't afraid, we froze in awe at these ginormous and beautiful creatures.