Jul 9, 2011

Monarch Butterflies\ Natural Bridges Beach

View Directions to Natural Bridges State Beach, West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA in a larger map

  They are one of the world's most beautiful, lightest delicate creatures on earth.

Here are some fun facts found on a website that are interesting.

1. The larvae (caterpillars) of monarch butterflies eat ONLY milkweed, this is why the monarch butterfly is dubbed the ‘milkweed butterfly’. The larvae stage is the only stage of the monarch butterfly that feeds on milkweed; there is something in milkweed that allows the caterpillar to grow and keep all of the vitamins needed to transform into a beautiful butterfly.

2. Did you know that all butterflies are cold-blooded creatures? They simply can not handle the colder weather so have to travel somewhere warmer. They also need to stay where their food source is – if it’s winter and there are no flowers, they can not stay there. The monarch butterflies will spend their winter hibernation in Mexico and some parts of Southern California where it is warm all year long. If the monarch lives in the Eastern states, usually east of the Rocky Mountains, it will migrate to Mexico and hibernate in oyamel fir trees. If the monarch butterfly lives west of the Rocky Mountains, then it will hibernate in and around Pacific Grove, California in eucalyptus trees.

If you are interested in viewing these lovely butterflies, you don't have to go far. There are a couple of places near San Francisco that have special parks that give great importance to the monarchs. Santa Cruz, Ca is one of them. A 45 minute drive from Santa Clara, Ca will lead you on CA 17 to Santa Cruz the fishing town known for its surfing, kayaking, sea food that is awesome on the pier, the Natural Bridges beach and the Monarch butterfly grove situated next to it.

  • Best time to visit: October - late February
  • Wear layered clothing as it can get pretty cold here
  • Wheel chair and stroller accessible

Monarch Butterfly-Watching Spots in California Winter Sites (from North to South):
In addition to visiting the butterflies, you could also spend the evening at the Natural Bridges Beach which has a small sandy beach and a few picnic tables too.

Jul 3, 2011

Tidepooling @ Half Moon Bay

View Half Moon bay Tidepools in a larger map

Being a Piscean - I love anything to do with water.. specially fish. My dad loves fish, has a large fish tank with live bearers specially black mollies, guppies, red sword tailed and a couple of others. It is such joy to see the baby fish swimming and hiding amongst the rocks and plants fearful of the other big fish. I just love their colors and I can sit for hours together watching them.

Sea Weed

At the California Academy of Sciences, the Steinhart aquarium has the Phillippine Coral Reef Gallery and the Northern California Coast Gallery which encompasses exquisite exhibits of live coral in the world, sharks, stingrays and colorful reef fish. The 100,000-gallon Northern California Coast tank replicates the habitats of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. A walkway along the surface allows visitors to smell the seawater and witness the filling and draining of tidepools along with a window reveals the eels, anemones, sea stars, rockfish, herring, sardines, and urchins that live beneath the water's surface. Its great to see these sea creatures in large aquariums.. but it was more exciting to see the tide pools in real life, within arms reach during one of the low tides at the Fitzgerald Marine Preserve in Half Moon Bay.

Located in Moss Beach, CA, about 40 minutes south of San Francisco on Highway 1, or 15 minutes north of the city of Half Moon Bay. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is in a no-take Marine Protected Area.
  • The best time to visit the reserve is during a zero or negative low tide, when the rocks are exposed. 
  • Use this ONLINE TIDE GUIDE to find a good time to visit. Its a great place to introduce kids to the diverse marine life and get a hands on experience. 
  • The area is slippery due to the moss so be careful when walking on the rocks. 
  • Do take a brochure from the visitor centre to know what you are looking for.                                                                                                    

We saw harbor seals, orange ochre starfish, anemons, nudibranchs , birds, and hermit crabs. If you are lucky you may get to see octopus and others too. Its well worth the 45 min drive from Santa Clara. We had a great time tidepooling and I'm sure you will too.


From here, we decided to drive south on CA1 to Santa Cruz pier. It was as always a lovely drive along the coast. The weather was just perfect and the cool wind blowing through the window was so refreshing and relaxing. We stopped on the way to photograph the pigeon point lighthouse. A big bowl of chowder, fresh fried fish sticks, fried calamari and bread was all that we needed after a great morning!

CA 1 Drive to Santa Cruz
Pigeon Point Light house

My own custom domain!

I finally decided to get my own custom domain. At least now I will be able to put my thoughts into words. It also helps me destress from the normal chores and daily routine.

I have realized that we do so many things in life, but rarely do we think about if we would be able to remember it 2 years down the line or even when we are old. I'd like to let my future generations get to know me more with my pictures and blog..

I hope you like reading my blogs in the months and years to come.. Closing on a quote that I really liked " Everything good that I know was taught to me by great teachers and I feel like giving back and sharing the technique is the thing to do.  " Betty Buckley

Cheers to "www.savsmich.com".. Till we blog again!