Kayak Elkhorn Slough on Monterey Bay

Elkhorn Slough Sea Otter


From the issue Wetland Wakening

Slough Motion

Ah, Monterey in spring…when things are bound to get little wild. Elkhorn Slough near Moss Landing is a huge tidal salt marsh that draws birdwatchers from around the world to see the more than 300 species that thrive here. In spring, it's also the perfect place for kayaking; you're practically guaranteed to spot sea otters while paddling (just watch out for the big jellyfish; they can fill a city pothole). You don't have to be an expert to kayak this protected slough; even if you've never held a paddle before, you can learn enough in about 15 minutes to get around. Arrive in the morning, when it's less windy, rent a kayak, and explore the 7-mile-long slough on your own, or take Kayak Connection's guided tour. The otters like to pop out of the water in surprise fashion, roll on their backs, and scratch themselves as part of their grooming routine. Regulations require kayakers to stay at least 50 ft. away from these friendly sea creatures, so view from a fair distance and bring the waterproof camera. Otters like to smile when they know they're on camera.

TIP: To get the grand tour of Elkhorn Slough, arrange for Kayak Connection's shuttle to pick you up (or drop you off, depending on the tide) at Kirby Park. It's a gentle 5-mile paddle deep into the wetland.

Kayak Connection, 2370 Hwy 1, Moss Landing; 831-724-5692. Open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends. It's $50 for a half-day rental for two people in a double kayak. Shuttle service to Kirby Park is an additional $15 per person. Directions to the Elkhorn Slough.

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