Central California:  Pinot, Pinnacles, and The Pacific
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Point Lobos, Big Sur, April 2008
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The undulating sea nettle, beautiful and deadly. 

The sea nettle hunts by trailings its long tentacles, covered with paralyzing stinging cells to stun its prey. From there, the prey is moved to the mouth-arms and finally to the mouth, where it's digested.  Yummy.

The most colorful jelly in the Mediterranean Sea, the Mediterranean Jelly, with its plum-colored bobs and chocolate-brown mouth-arms, found in Mar Menor, a coastal lagoon in Spain.

Their overgrowth in this Spanish lagoon threaten to overrun fisheries and turn away tourism.  But the tourists here in Monterey are transfixed by the Mediterranean Jelly's gorgeous colors.

Walking back to the Fisherman's Wharf, we couldn't help but stop off at the Old Fisherman's Grotto Restaurant, serving some of our favorite clam chowder.

The next morning, after, yes, another ten-hour sleep, we walked around Point Lobos in nearby Carmel.

A Point Lobos goose quacks in appreciation of the natural beauty.  This lovely photo also makes a nice Navigation Button, wouldn't you agree?

We got back later that evening...and went again to the Old Fisherman's Grotto. We usually don't go to restaurants twice in a row, but the delicious clam chowder beckoned.

After another ten-hour sleep, we headed slowly south through Big Sur on one of the most beautiful drives anywhere, Pacific Coast Highway, stopping often to admire the views.  Big Sur has been called the "Greatest Meeting of Land and Sea", and it's difficult to argue with that.

The River Inn, along the Pacific Coast Highway, part of Big Sur's "business district".

Lisa takes a photo of the enormous tree at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur.

One of the best reasons to come to Pfeiffer Beach is to see the surging tide shooting through tunnels in the off-shore rock ridges.  Every time I visit this beach, I sit in front of these tunnels, utterly captivated by the tide's onslaught.

Every time I've been to this beach, it's been extremely windy, and is rough on cameras.  My friend Mitch's camera was rendered inoperable while there, undoubtedly a nasty combination of wind and salt water spray coating his camera.   Mine survived, and for that I was grateful.

A family is transfixed by the surging tide through the tunnel at Pfeiffer Beach despite the cold, driving winds.

The pounding surf about to shoot through the tunnel of an off-shore rock ridge at Pfeiffer Beach.

The pounding surf at Big Sur, the chilly Pacific meeting the rocky Pfeiffer Beach.

After the windy Pfeiffer Beach, one of my essential stops in Big Sur, we continued driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, still stopping often to take in the phenomenal views. 

After continuing south some more, we stopped off to hike in pristine forests along one of the canyons in south Big Sur, the towering trees almost a fantasyland for me.

Along our hike in south Big Sur.

The lush ferns and greenery along our hike in the forest canyons of south Big Sur, a babbling brook in the distance.  Hikes rarely get more beautiful than this.

A smaller tree growing out of its larger original trunk.

We continually criss-crossed the babbling brook, balancing on stones and logs as we continued upward through the forest canyon.

Central California:  Pinot, Pinnacles, and The Pacific, April 2008
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