|Elkhorn Slough is one of California's largest wetlands. The reserve winds inland 7 miles and provides an important feeding,breeding, and resting place for a fantastic variety of wildlife. As we launched our kayaks we immediately encountered at least a hundred harbor seals lying about the docks and sandy banks of the estuary. The cool wind cast a chop and a chill upon the water as we paddled about the harbor. We then encountered schools of much smaller and very cute and playful sea otters. They love to float outstretched upon their backs and casually observe their surroundings. They then roll under the water to suddenly reappear a short distance away-like near the kayak as Nancy noted when one surfaced right next to her. We sat entranced as they entertained us. One could hear the crack of shells as they feasted upon fresh mollusks. There are supposedly over 350 species of birds. This morning proved to be an incredible display of countless birds feeding,sunning,and building nests. The plant life and seaweed was a rich bright green color and was in marked contrast to the brown loam and tan sand lining the banks. Hundreds of different plants comprise the wetland ecosystem which is the first stage of reclaiming the land from the sea. The fresh water descends from the adjacent mouth of the Monterey canyon to mingle with the incoming seawater. Rich nutrients and aquatic life abound to support the food chain. California halibut live off shore but migrate into the tidal creeks of Elkhorn Slough to breed. We encountered several areas of feeding frenzy-- Pelicans dive bombing and seals leaping in rolls like dolphins--as they fed upon schools of fish in the slough. Many otter were seen carrying their new offspring on their bellys as they were teaching them how to swim. It was a special treat. Spring is such a special time in nature. Nature is such an intricate,delicate well balanced machine that it is easy to see how man can so greatly disturb the system. It is so important to preserve these areas for our future well being. The beauty of the kayak is that it glides so silently and swiftly such that the wildlife are not alarmed. The kayak can also navigate very shallow waters and maneuver effortlessly around obstacles. In short it is the perfect platform for enjoying nature at its finest. We traveled nearly to the eastern end of the slough and then retraced our path back to the harbor. The seals barked loudly as we passed the mass of some 100 lying upon the harbor dock. We had an exceptional day. We traveled about 8.75 miles. We can't believe all we experience on a daily basis-like one continuous dream vacation. We had an early dinner at Phil's in Moss Landing. The picture speaks to its excellence.The wood fired artichoke is incredible!