A Whale of a Time!

By Patty Wilber

Jim and I went for a whirlwind trip to the Santa Barbara area this past weekend to visit Progeny #2 (Mark) and his better half (Erika).  We got in Friday morning around 10am, and pretty much went non-stop (except for the part on Saturday where I took a “less drowsy” dramamine at 3pm, had a glass of wine at 7pm and about passed out at 8pm…Alcohol and dramamine apparently don’t go well together.  It probably says that on the packaging somewhere…) until Sunday evening when we flew out at 7:30pm.

Friday, we went hiking, checked out a mission, hit a brew pub and played board games.

The hike went up a canyon with water and this gopher snake. Mark is a herp guy (as in herpetology) so of course he had to catch the snake!

Saturday, we took a ferry to Scorpion Ranch Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island (one of the closer Channel Islands–20 miles, one hour on the boat.) We took a “boatload” of stuff…two inflatable kayaks, snorkeling and hiking gear.

We went kayaking in the Scorpion Marine Reserve.

Kelp is hard to paddle through!

But it can be beautiful!

This seal hung out with us while we had a snack in the boats.

Boat selfie: Me and Jim!

Mark and Erika knew we should head into the wind early in the day so that as its strength increased in the afternoon, we would be blown back to the dock.  That worked out really well!

We hugged the coastline on the outward paddle and checked out some sea caves, birds and seals.  We made it all the way to Potato Harbor and were the only boats on the water that went that far. (Not far on the map, but hey, we were kayaking!)

On the return trip, we took a less sinuous line, and with the wind at our backs, halved our travel time.

After, that, I was cold, so I went hiking and the water-lovers (i.e. everyone but me) forced themselves into skin-tight wetsuits and hit the kelp beds.

It was about that time that I took the dramamine to make sure the boat ride back was not a barfer. It wasn’t. It was pretty exciting because…

…we saw a Blue Whale!  They really do look blue!  They are the largest ANIMAL to ever exist on Earth. Heart as big as an automobile!  Tongue the size of an elephant!  Up to 100 feet in length!  Read more here!

There is a whale in there, I swear!

We had a nice dinner at Lure in Ventura with the fated glass of wine.  That’s about all I remember…

On Sunday, we drove to Solvang and I got dropped off at the Alisal Guest Ranch to go riding with my friend Mark Bohannon, who works there.  It was a walk-trot ride for the guests and I got to tag along.  I liked being horseback in the golden California oat grassland of my youth.  Of course those oats are a nasty invasive that, with the help of overgrazing, out competed the native perennial grasses, way back when the Spanish moved in with sheep, goats, cattle and horses.  I still liked seeing the oak trees with cattle resting in their shade.

And, dang, it was hot.  Those Californians (well, really anyone who had never been to NM) all think the Land of Enchantment is some hard, baked and cracked adobe plain.  It was WAY hotter there than it is at my house at 6,800 feet in the shadow of the Sandia Mountains (10,800 ft.).  Just sayin’.

The working horses! There are about 110 (I think they said) horses in the guest string at the Alisal. Some are very very quiet and some are for the more advanced riders.

Oak and oat grasslands.

Mark, me and cattle up on the hill side. It is a lovely ranch of about 10,000 acres. It has been a guest ranch since the 1940’s, and it has been intact as a ranch since the Spanish Land Grant days. I am riding Ebony, who belongs to Mark.

I got picked up again, we bade Mark B. farewell, and we went to a Danish bakery for…wait for it…danishes.

Back to Santa Barbara the scenic way, and off to Stearns Wharf for wine tasting with an ocean view. Mark and Erika once saw a Gray Whale with her calf right along the wharf!

Packed Molly (the boat), and hauled her and our normal luggage off to the airport in Santa Barbara and flew home!

What a whale of a time!



About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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6 Responses to A Whale of a Time!

  1. Jackie Splintee says:

    You are so funny…..loved reading this! Hugs!

  2. EMoonTX says:

    Glad you had a fun mini-vacation. Whale, horses, kelp…foooood. All good.

    • Patty says:

      Thanks! Just got back from cutting a gob of trees in the Pecos Wilderness with back country horsemen!

  3. Doranna says:

    Coming back from the weekend to say how cool your adventures are!

    PS keep sending email, keep not hearing back. Are you not getting mine, or am I not getting yours?

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