Stride Team Spring Outing 2019

By Juanita Lai
April 17, 2019

For Stride's Spring 2019 team outing, we took to the water! Whale watching and kayaking in beautiful Monterey Bay.

Read on as our Content Intern, Juanita, recounts the day:

We got up bright and early to drive to Monterey Bay on a Monday morning. A few of us snuck in a quick snooze while the trusty drivers navigated down Highway One. Getting an early start to the day paid off, as we were able to beat the morning traffic.

There were some incredible coastal views on the way down. For those that have never driven on Highway One, let me tell you - it is one of the most scenic routes in the US. On your right you have the Pacific Ocean that stretches out for miles, followed by luscious green hills and trees of all sorts.

The weather also worked out in our favor. The sun was shining and every minute the sky turned a brighter shade of blue. Do yourself a favor and drive through Highway One on your next visit to California.

a sign in the water in the daytime

After parking our cars and quickly grabbing some much needed coffee, we joined the rest of our boat group at the far end of the parking lot. The group consisted of several families with children, and adults in the 40+ age range.

Our guide gave everyone thorough safety instructions and handed out drops of essential oil to prevent motion sickness. We were informed that we would be seeing all sorts of wildlife such as humpback whales, gray whales, sea otters, harbor seals, and of course - California sea lions.

a group of sea lions relaxing on a dock in the sun

As we all hustled onto the boat, everyone took notice of the 10-20 sea lions that were just a few feet away from our boat. Some were peacefully napping or going in for a dip, while others barked noisily - as they usually do. It’s always intriguing to see how their backs dramatically arch to the sky while they bark.

a gray whale in the ocean with its back out of the water

As our boat took off, we all found a comfortable outdoor seating area at the bow. The boat quickly got moving and we all settled in with snacks in one hand and cameras in the other. Ten minutes into the boat ride, we spotted our first gray whale.

There were lots of oohs and ahhs as we all caught a quick glimpse of the whale’s back. We continued to see several gray whales every few minutes, and occasionally saw their beautifully curved fins in the air before diving into the water. Some of them swam alone and others moved in groups of 2 or 3.

a whale spouting water out of the ocean

We kept our eyes glued to the water for the longest time before our first humpback whale sighting. Humpbacks are known for breaching out of the water and doing horizontal flips in the air, so we were all eager to find one. Like our guide had promised, we soon spotted one humpback whale after another.

Many of them showed their beautiful backs and fins, but the last one was the most stunning. It propelled it’s entire body out of the water, did a twist, and landed with a tremendous splash - talk about a grand finale!

a restaurant sign

After we made it back on land, we rewarded ourselves for our hard day’s work with a delicious lunch. Monterey Bay is filled with many great seafood restaurant options. We opted for lunch at Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery. They have an extensive menu with options for all sorts of fresh seafood like lobster rolls, blackened salmon, fish and chips, and grilled ahi tuna.

people in a yellow kayak paddling near the shore

Next we made a quick drive over to Monterey Bay Kayaks for a private guided kayak tour. If you didn’t know - Monterey Bay has one of the highest concentrations of the California Southern Sea Otter. To say we were excited to be in the water with sea otters is an understatement.

We had a tour with two lovely guides that provided us with wetsuits and gave us a quick rundown on kayaking techniques. The wind started to pick up as we got in the water but it didn’t hinder our spirits. It wasn’t long until we spotted sea otters floating in the water with their adorable little arms and head sticking out.

Our guides were very careful in making sure we kept within 5 boat lengths from these sea creatures in order to not disturb their natural behavior. Other notable creatures we saw were seals, nesting seabirds, and of course - more sea lions.

a group of people with kayak oars above their head cheering

Kayaking is hard, and kayaking against the wind is even more hard work. However, the water proved to be no obstacle for us here at Stride. We made it back onto the shores using our excellent paddling skills and dragged our kayaks out of the water. We ended the day with a cup of hot chocolate and thanked our awesome guides before making our way back to home.

If you love sea creatures, the smell of the ocean air, and don’t mind a light workout, then you should pay a visit to Monterey Bay!

Interested in joining our team and attending fun outings like this? We're hiring!

Check out our Careers page to see all open positions »

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