Watsonville airport is 10 miles from Moss Landing, a small but busy harbor and village at the mouth of the Elkhorn Slough. The slough is one of the last coastland wetlands in California. Located on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, it has been described as the best place for wildlife viewing along the length of California’s coast. The Elkhorn Slough is a dramatic backdrop for wildlife year-round— home to otters, seals, sea lions and an infinite variety of birds.
I went on a guided tour of the slough, guided by (not by coincidence) my daughter Belyn, who is currently working as a guide for Kayak Connection for the summer. Going with a guide is wonderful because you learn so much more than going solo. Left to my own devices, I would’ve just paddled away into the slough, but Belyn slowed us down and directed my attention to the sea life under the water— where we could see abundant sea life and even an occasional seal swimming beneath us.
I also learned, for example, that there are approximately 100 sea otters living in the slough, so you’re guaranteed to see at least a few of them frolicking, hunting or floating as they rest. There are about 3,000 sea otters in California, all descendants from a group of only 50 that remained in the 1930’s after extensive hunting in prior decades.
Belyn picked me up at the Watsonville airport, but you could take a cab or there is a Hertz car rental place right on the field (well, a little hard to find but it is there – walk out the terminal building and take a left and its down one block).