in the Monterey Bay NMS
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary protects one of the world's most
unique habitats: the giant kelp forest. These towering undersea forests
are home to many fishes, invertebrates, birds, and marine mammals. As
you float quietly in a kelp bed, watch for snails, crabs, and other small
animals living on the kelp blades. If you look closely, you may even see
a young rockfish hiding in the kelp canopy. Its cryptic coloration provides
protection from predators as it hides among the broad kelp blades. The
rockfish will move into deeper water as it grows older and larger.
As you paddle
through the kelp forest, you may see brown pelicans, cormorants, loons,
grebes, and other fish eating birds that search the kelp forest for prey.
Even sea gulls are common visitors to the kelp forest; they are often
seen near sea otters, waiting to grab a few tidbits the otter may drop
while eating. During your explorations of the Sanctuary please try to
remember that many of the animals you will encounter are easily frightened
by your presence. Enjoy these animals from a distance and be aware of
your impact on their habitats.
KEEP SANCTUARY WATERS CLEAN
Sanctuary has some of the cleanest coastal waters in the world. You can
help keep the Sanctuary a beautiful place by stowing your trash for disposal
in port and picking up any plastic you see floating in the water. Birds,
fish, mammals, and sea turtles can get entangled in plastic items or mistake
them for food. Participate in beach clean-ups and leave the beach clean
after your kayak trip. Please help remove plastics from the ocean!
MAMMALS AND YOU
are most likely to see seals, sea lions, or sea otters on your kayak trips
in the Sanctuary. Curious animals may even swim up to you. Although it
may be tempting to approach them for a closer look, remember that these
animal are wild and are protected by federal law. For your sake and theirs,
observe mammals from a distance. If they start to look in your direction
and fidget, you are much too close and should quietly back away. The National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends you stay 50 to
100 yards away from all animals, whether in the water or on shore. In
addition, please do not feed marine mammals. It could be dangerous to
you and is not healthy for the animals.
must rest about half the day to stay healthy. Each time a sleeping otter
is disturbed, it wakes up, rolls in the water, and wets its fur. After
this, otters must groom themselves and dry off before going back to sleep.
Otter mothers and pups need more rest time than other animals. Please
respect an otter's need for sleep, and keep your distance.
SEE A PUP ON THE BEACH
seal or sea lion pup found alone on the beach is generally not an abandoned
animal. Please leave the pup alone. Any attempt to move it may cause you
or the pup to get hurt, or cause the mother to abandon the pup. If you
see a seal or sea lion you think needs care, leave it alone and call the
Marine Mammal Center Hotline at 831-633-6298 or 415-289-7350. If you see
a sea otter pup you think is abandoned, leave it alone and call the Monterey
Bay Aquarium's Sea Otter Rescue and Care Program at 831-648-4829. They
will determine the best course of action for the animal.
below are a few launch areas within the Sanctuary that provide access
for kayakers. Access points located near kelp forests are highlighted
with an asterisk (*). Hazardous sea conditions may exist, especially at
the open beaches highlighted with a pound sign (#). Check with local kayak
shops for current ocean conditions.
Francisco to Half Moon Bay
Whale Cove State Beach*#
Moon Bay State Beach#
Moon Bay to Santa Cruz
Gregorio State Beach
Hollow State Beach#
Cruz to Monterey
Brighton State Beach
River State Beach*#
Simeon State Beach*
the skill limits of your group. Plan your routes and be aware of changing
weather. You may encounter fog, wind, strong currents, and large surf.
Suggested safety equipment includes a lifejacket, pump, paddle float,
wet-quit, flotation bags for decked boats, and a safety kit.