Seal of Approval

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This morning, we had a knock on our door at around 7:30. That was confusing. It took a second to realize that it wasn’t the door, but the wall. It sounded like someone was bouncing a ball. It turned out to be construction guys pounding a broken window frame out of the stucco on the side of the building. Hell of a time to start. Thanks guys.

This stopped after a while, and Yulia and I decided to take a walk, and left Sasha trying to sleep. We walked around the resort a bit, and decided to grab a couple of the free cruiser bikes to ride around for a while. These were some pretty simple bikes, just one gear and painted in that typical resort blue color than no one would ever purchase on their own. Funny looking or not, they were really fun to ride.

We rode around a bit to enjoy the view, and the amazing potholes of California streets. After a few bone-jarring miles we stopped for coffee. This was in a new coffee place opened in a historical home (Jennings House) along the main street of Point Loma. it was a great little discovery. They were still remodeling the house, but it had a great feel inside, filled with locals, and they made really good coffee. We sat a bit before heading back to see if Sasha was up.

She was already getting ready to head out for breakfast. She knew of a place in La Jolla, and we wanted to spend the day just wandering around La Jolla and the waterfront there. It was a quick drive up, and while the line at the place Sasha wanted was too long, we found another place right next door that looked fantastic. And it was, we had a some eggs Benedict and a full Irish breakfast to start us out. It was actually noon at this point, we weren’t really breaking any speed records during the day.

After eating we checked out a few stores, then drove down to walk along the water. we wanted to see if we could see some seals or sea lions in the water. The map showed a “Seal Rock” so I figured that was a good place to start. We had no idea what was on the beach. We found parking right on the waterfront, and saw that there were lots of crowds walking back and forth. We started walking and saw seals covering the rocks offshore. Seagulls were swooping around near us, and pelicans were flying in and walking near the crowds as well.

There was an identification chart nearby to call out that Seals are smaller with furry fins and no ears, and Sea Lions are larger with formed fins and small ears, but I couldn’t really tell – they all look like dog-mermaids or something.

We kept walking along the beach, and found bigger crowds further up. People were climbing along the rocks on the shore and taking pictures. Once we got close, it was apparent why. There was an area with smoother rocks that was covered in sea lions, like a think carpet in areas. They were all napping and sunning themselves, mostly sleeping.

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Park Rangers were making sure that folks didn’t get too close, but we could pretty much walk quietly up to the groups and just watch them. There were big males in the groups of females. once in a while one would wake up and start barking at the others to stay away. Mixed in with the females were seal pups! Some were napping, some nursing, and some wandering around, only to get pushed back into the groups by their mothers.

It was amazing to watch. We probably spent close to 3 hours just walking around, then sitting and watching a group for a while. Then we would walk over and watch another group. We just did this over and over. The only real downside was the SMELL. There were hundreds of animals here, and the rocks were effectively covered in a fine layer of bird and seal poop. When the wind turned it was like an outhouse filled with aged herring heads.

Bu the Baby Sea Lions were so cute! So we stayed around until we all were ready to vomit from the smell. Walking away from the cliffs we found a nice public swimming beach in a fairly sheltered cove. I looked at the way the currents were moving, and Having a public beach right next to a massive Seal Toilet seems like a bad plan, but hey, if you are into that sort of thing…

We went back into the main street of La Jolla. There was a pretty good fresh juice bar there, so we grabbed some fancy juices and found that hot pepper and ginger seems to be a popular ingredient, even when you don’t expect it. I really need to bring my reading glasses when buying juice. Sasha walked over to a few shops and was having a great time talking to one of the girls working at someplace that I didn’t recognize. (Note: I don’t know any fashion places. So this could be anywhere)

When the girl found out we were staying on Shelter Island she told Sasha that we had to go try Bali Hai. It’s a restaurant on our island with an amazing view of downtown, and it’s a full-on 1950’s original Tiki bar. Like a lot of Tiki places, they have their own version of a Mai Tai, and it’s apparently a local hit. This was perfect, as it was right next to the hotel, and I’m a complete nut for Tiki culture and Exotica.

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Yulia called on the phone to get us a reservation, and we were lucky to catch a cancellation at the last minute. They were apparently packed, so we caught a break. We changed back at the hotel, and went back down the island to dinner. The building was custom built as a Tiki bar back in 1953. A wide circular dining room on the second floor had unrestricted views of the Sand Diego downtown, and the interior was rough cut logs and palm fronds. This was pure kitch.

It was a great dinner. The cocktails were strong, the dishes were all fresh fish with fantastic sauces and good portions. I was a big fan of Trader Vic’s when we had one in Bellevue, and this isn’t the same, but I’d say as good in a different way. Asian-tropical fusion probably would be a good description. It was also a lot cheaper than were we had dinner the night before.

We’ve got a few more days here, so I think we’ll be back.