Sea Lion Caves: 6 Month Solo Road Trip


Sea Lions Caves Coast

Looking up the coast from the Sea Lion Caves

After staying a few days in Eugene, I say goodbye to my gracious hosts of the Airbnb Robin’s Nest. I’m on the road again, checking out mid-coast Oregon on my way back to Portland via Route 101 aka Oregon Coast Highway.  First stop, Sea Lion Caves, 91560 Highway 101, Florence. I find it very easily since it’s on the cliff overlooking the ocean. I find a parking spot and pay the $14 admission fee. The ticket saleswoman tells me that this is one of the largest sea caves in the world. I’m impressed. One would never know that fact from the road since it’s 300′ below the highway.

Sea Lion Cave Stairs

Stairs lead to the Sea Lion Caves below

I can hear the squawking of seals as I make my way to the elevator, which will take me down to the cave far below. Years ago before there were elevators, people hiked down the stairs. I guess going down isn’t as bad as going up but I’m glad for elevators. The elevator door opens to a dimly lit platform with stairs leading to the dark cave below. As my eyes adjust to the darkness, I see jail cell bars which separate the humans from the wildlife.

Sea Lions Cave Florence Oregon

The famous Sea Lion Caves

Boy! The sea lions are talkative! Their voices echo throughout the cave. What an amazing sight to see, hundreds of sea lions in their natural habitat. I watch taking video and photos with my iPhone, careful not to have the flash on. After a few minutes, I head back up. As I reach the top, I once again refocus my eyes to the sunlight.  Thank goodness for sunglasses. I follow the cliffside path which leads me to a viewing station. Close to the craggy coastline the water is a magnificent turquoise blue. Sea lions frolic in the turbulent waves. They must be strong swimmers to avoid getting pummeled by the powerful waves and rocky cliffs. It’s close to high noon as I get into my trusty Prius and head north on Route 101 to check out other sites.

Sea Lion Caves ocean

Turquoise waters Sea Lion Caves

Redondo Beach: 6 Month Solo Road Trip

I’m apparently a compassionate person because I could have said hello, nice meeting you, have a nice life, hope it all works out for you, and goodbye to M, but I didn’t. Instead I let him stay with me for two weeks in the Redondo Beach area. I feel guilty…

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Pacific Coast Highway California: 6 Month Solo Road Trip Adventure

After hiking the scenic Point Lobos State Park I stay over night at the The Colonial Terrace in Carmel. I rely heavily on TripAdvisor for reviews, pictures and write ups. The quaint inn is  just steps away from Carmel-by-the Sea City Beach. My room which is on the second floor is cozy with a…

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#Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: 6 Month Solo Road Trip

9 am, January 22, 2015 I awake to a beautiful day. Today’s adventure is to continue driving up the Pacific Coast Highway (#PCH) taking in the sites and ending in Carmel. This is such a scenic highway, my favorite of all the roads I’ve driven. The car is packed and I take one…

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Big Sur: 6 Month Solo Road Trip

To Sur with Love: January 20-21, 2015 I say goodbye to Cousin David and family in Woodland Hills, CA and drive the scenic but curvy Topanga Canyon Blvd to Malibu and head north on Route 1, known as the PCH aka Pacific Coast Highway; destination Big Sur, CA. It’s a heavenly drive.…

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Day 29: Fort Meyers Beach, Florida: 6 Month Solo Road Trip

Day 29: I leave Fort Lauderdale at 10am after the morning commute, destination Fort Meyers Beach and Sanibel Island. On TripAdvisor I find a beachfront hotel, Neptune Inn. It’s a boutique hotel with only 2 levels (3 levels for ocean front rooms) which I like, not those massive ugly concrete buildings…

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Days 27-28: Back in Ft. Lauderdale down memory lane: 6 month solo road trip

Day 27-28: Flew back to Ft. Lauderdale the night before from Nassau on Jet Blue. Thank God for TripAdvisor and Yelp.  I rely on them heavily for reviews.  I look at the reviews and pictures, then go to the hotel’s website, look at their site and book the reservations. So…

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Sailing in the Bahamas: The Glass Window Bridge, Eleuthera: 6 Month Solo Road Trip

Day 20 I wake up to the sounds of the water gently lapping the boat. I lie for a moment feeling the movement then get dress and head up for breakfast. The Captain tells us our itinerary for the day which includes hiking to the Glass Window Bridge. This is…

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Setting sail on a tall ship for a week: Part of my 6 month solo road trip experience

Day 18:

I wake up to a glorious day, the sun is shining and the birds are singing at the Sunrise Beach Club villa. Today is the day of the tall ship sailing adventure on the Liberty Clipper. The itinerary is to arrive at 4pm, and set sail at 5pm. The excitement is building. I spend the day chilling in the pool and at Cabbage Beach. The quiet side is away from the high-rise hotels and the beach rambles for a ways. It’s a nice relaxing walk. The water is a bit choppy but I jump in and frolic about like a school girl in the waves. The water feels good against my hot skin. Refreshing.

Cabbage Beach, Paradise Island the quiet side

Cabbage Beach, Paradise Island, take a walk on the quiet side

After checking out of the hotel, I  take a taxi to Nassau Marina which is only a 5 minute drive from the hotel. I’ve never been on a Tall Ship and only been on a sailboat a few times, but I’m looking forward to it. I hear Sailing by Christopher Cross in my head and I envision calm and peace. Aah. I arrive at 4pm at the boat; Liberty Clipper.

Under construction sail at your own risk

Under construction sail at your own risk

It’s made to look like an old wooden Schooner. Very cool. We don’t set sail until 5pm, so I drop off my High Sierra hybrid suitcase/backpack (which is the best suitcase I’ve owned) at the boat and head for the The Poop Deck restaurant for dinner which overlooks the marina. When the bill comes I automatically add the tip to the total, only realizing after I give it to her that I double tip her. In the Bahamas they automatically include the tip. Lesson learned. It’s one thing if the service is amazing but when the service is below par, it kind of bites.

Arriving back at 5pm, I wait until they are ready to let us on. I am supposed to be in bunk 12 but it’s still under construction so they put me into bunk 11. That’s okay 11 is my lucky number.  I bunk with Julie from Canada.

Da Bunk Beds on Liberty Clipper

Da Bunk Beds on Liberty Clipper

The sleeping areas are below deck. A ladder takes you down below, just watch your step its steep. Our quarters are 6’9″ long by 5’3″ wide by 6’4″ tall. This includes two 27″ wide bunk beds with a small ladder, a small sink with mirror and hooks to hang our belongings. We store our suitcases on the floor under the bunk.  I take the bottom bunk because it has more headroom 23″ versus 21″ on the top bunk.  Those 2″ make a world of difference. It will also be easier getting in and out especially during the night.

Some of the quarters have larger beds made for two but those are 42″ wide on a good day. Some have bathrooms. You pay more for those. To me it wasn’t worth the extra $400 for that luxury. The 4’x4′ bathrooms consisted of a toilet in the shower.  The dining hall is a few steps down from the deck. It’s about a 15’x20′ room clad in wood, with four large wooden picnic tables, book shelves, and a breakfast bar. It looks like it can fit 20 people comfortably. We will see.

This is not a luxury cruise by any means. It’s called Barefoot for a reason. I love the casual feel; no make-up, no dressing up, no computers, no cell phones. Nothing, just water, air and sun. Aah.

After we are all settled we all gather on the deck and the captain and crew make their introductions. They tell us that we will spend the night here at the dock and then head out for the three-hour tour in the morning. Hmm…The gang is going into town but I choose to stay on the boat and watch the stars and chill.

Day 19.

It feels as though we are moving so I jump out of bed at 7am. I head up to the deck but we are still tied to the dock. The toilets are not working, plumbing issues. The crew is doing construction on the boat. Their tools are everywhere and I have to walk gingerly over them. I’m restless, this is not what I envisioned after paying $1300/week for a sailing adventure. I walk around the marina for about an hour checking out the funky names on the boats. The name Cool Change is on a yacht and The Little River Band song pops into my head. That’s my theme song-Cool Change.

We have breakfast which is pretty decent, but the plumbing is still being fixed which means no water, no toilets.  That is not a good sign. Finally around 9am the boat sets off down the bay towards open water; Eleuthera bound. Yea, we are actually moving. There is no wind so we are cruising on gas. Calm seas ahead. IMG_0615In the afternoon we dropped anchor off Harbor Lagoon and go ashore on a rubber boat to a small beach about a 100 yards long. Walking barefoot I follow a path, cross the street and continue to a rocky cliff. All I can hear in my head is the line from Seinfeld: “The sea was angry that day my friend”. The surf pounds the rocks and sends spray through the air. What a sight.

Spray shoots into the air, Eleuthera Bahamas

Spray shoots into the air, Eleuthera Bahamas

Watching for a bit, I decide to head back to the ship. The crew tells us we can jump off the side of the boat into the water (not walking the plank just yet) Now that’s fun. Never jumped off a sailboat before. The water feels good. It’s a beautiful teal color. Heaven.

That night after dinner we head up to the deck and watch the sunset followed by the moon rising over the water. As the night wears on, a million stars twinkle in the sky, creating a blanket of white. Mike from Colorado has an app on his cell that shows the constellations, that’s cool. He shows it to us. It’s amazing what you can see where there is no light pollution. The waves are gently rocking the boat. It’s dead calm. Now this is what it’s all about. Peace