After a very productive homework session (and I can count those on one hand) we took the dinghy into town and explored Cannery Row. We walked by "Doc" Ricketts old laboratory closed to the public, but being preserved by a handful of individuals. It is a very nondescript, dilapidated old building and my guess is it is missed by the majority of the tourists that visit Cannery Row. It is hard to impress the kids with talk of Steinbeck, but on my short list of books to read to them during night watches is "the Pearl" by John Steinbeck; interweaving folklore from Baja California with a good moral teaching. We also spent about an hour in the old custom house museum. We are trying to hit local museums in lieu of school hours and I was pleasantly surprised by how interested the boys were in native american and early European exploration history. It appears Porter has a hidden obsession with native American culture. Who knew how much the third grade session on the Calapooia indians would impress him?
In the afternoon I dropped Mike and the boys off about 100 meters off the aquarium pier. We opted to miss one of the greatest aquariums in the world, but we had an amazing experience just the same. We decided we could make the drive down to the aquarium any time, but we wouldn't always have a dingy and access tho this incredible bay. We held onto some kelp as an anchor and Mike dove while the kids snorkeled and tried to buddy breath with the regulator. They want so much to learn to dive! I was quite impressed that they were willing to jump off the boat into deep, cold water and into a kelp forest with limited experience in the ocean. They have really never snorkeled before, so I thought this would be a rough initiation, but they were fearless! Mike dove down and brought starfish, abalone shells and other inverts up for Kena and the boys were able to watch a harbor seal forage right under the boat. We pulled crabs and other inverts off the bull kelp blades and I exhausted my invertebrate anatomy knowledge naming our specimens for the kids. Later, Kena and I took the kayak out and had a sea otter climb up on the bow of the kayak. No wonder the fur traders were able to decimate sea otter populations in the 1800's. They are curious and had no trouble coming right up to the kayak. As we were eating dinner later we were startled by a banging on the hull of the boat. We hurried on deck trying to see who was so anxious to get our attention. Turns out, we startled a sea otter trying to open his dinner. We scared it off as we rallied on deck but we could later hear him banging on boats that were tied up to moorings near us.
Not every day is like this, but these are the days that cruising dreams are made of.