We packed up and headed out to Newport Beach, about and hour and a half away from where we were staying. The drive was nice, but once we got to Newport it went from nice to "oh my!". The town itself is lovely and squeaky clean. The people were all friendly. The adventures, breathtaking.
Shawn, our very own research hound, booked an expedition with Newport Coastal Adventures. It's a whale watching tour, but I will tell you, this is not yo mama's whale watching tour. This is no joke and worth every penny, minute and heart palpitation. Captain Ryan is super nice, like the kind of guy you want to have a beer with nice. His boat is a small zodiac that seats about 6 people. It's the kind the Navy Seals use to get up close and personal to their missions. Hard bottom, rubber sides. When you're out on the water, you are really in the action!! We sailed through the harbor at a comfortable pace, but once we hit the open, we had to hold on to our hats!!! We flew six miles out, bouncing off the waves and laughing the whole time. It! was! a! ride!
As we traveled out we saw something none of us expected - flying fish!!! Those suckers can sail! They go for looooong distances and they are so blue and beautiful! We didn't get any pics of them, but trust me, they're so so so very cool!
Capt. Ryan had intel where a pod of common dolphins were, so that's where we went. The pod was huge! I would guess about 100 dolphin huge. They jumped and played all around us, and since we were in the zodiac boat we could almost reach out and touch them. They raced in front and alongside. As magnificent as it was to see them flying in the air, I was mesmerized watching them dive down deep and come back to the surface. The water was so clear and blue and infinite.
We tried finding whales, but it was a bust. However, we did meet a ton of sea lions and a handful of seals. The sea lions were hilarious. We even came across a strange cluster of bi-pedal creatures flinging themselves off a rock island.
The sun, the salt, the smiles. I had perma-grin the whole time. We all did. This adventure could not have been more perfect or more fun or more anything. We will 100% do this again! And if you ever get to the west coast, give Capt. Ryan a ring. You won't regret it.
After the grand adventure, we hopped a ferry to Balboa Island. What a groovy awesome place that is! We had lunch at Ruby's on the end of the pier, played in the surf and sand, found an actual playground, walked about and souvenir shopped. The whole time I had the theme from Three's Company in my head. The whole place looked like the opening sequence of the show. "Come and knock on my door..." I kept looking for the Regal Beagle.
I think we were all a little sad to get back in the car to head home, but on the way we did catch a magical farewell in the sunset. Till next time, Newport. We shall meet again!!