We were going to take it easy yesterday, just taking an afternoon ferry ride around Humboldt Bay. We started the day going to Ramone’s for coffee and pastries, and while there, Rob read about a place called Agate Beach, a bit north of Eureka, where you can find agate pebbles on the beach (hence the name . . . ).
Emma loves rocks, so this was very exciting for her. Low tide was around 2 p.m., so we figured we’d head up to the beach and then come back to Eureka for the 2:30 ferry ride. We found the beach by noon, but the next time anyone looked at a watch, it was 2:30. We decided to catch the ferry ride another day.
We didn’t really find a lot of agates, but we did come home loaded down with cool rocks polished smooth and shiny by the waves.
Rob and Emma, being overtaken by the waves on Agate Beach.
Some of our wave-polished rocks.
Emma's hands covered in sand. The sand here was a combination of many colors, rather than just white or just black. I brought some home to use in class --it will look very cool under a microscope.
Some other stuff Emma and Rob found to take home from the beach.
Then we took some time to soak in the bungalow's hot tub surrounded by the flowers.
We took two tourist rides today: one in a horse-drawn carriage, and one on a boat. Both turned out to be great. Marty, the man giving the carriage rides turned out to be from our part of the States, with a daughter just graduating from UW-Madison. He’s made the same drive we did many times, and we laughed about taking Hwy 299 through the mountains. Emma loved being in the carriage, and Marty was really pleasant and informative as he gave us a 20 minute tour of Old Town. I asked him whether the town’s name had anything to do with the gold rush, and he told us that it was named Eureka because the inlet from the ocean is so small that it took 300 years of searching the coastline to find it. He was really sweet with Emma, and she got to feed Barney, the horse, a carrot at the end of the tour.
Then we took the Madaket Ferry, a retired ferry that now gives tours of Humboldt Bay. The captain was absolutely hilarious! He has obviously spoken his spiel many times, and he told us a lot about the history of the bay, the businesses surrounding it, the lumber industry, industrial barons of the past, and a local Native American tribe, but he would sneak in jokes and comments with a slight political slant. He knew a lot about the shorebirds as well, his favorite being the brown pelican. They were spectacular to watch, as they dove into the water. One of the islands in the bay is one of the last remaining egret rookeries in the States, and the presence of osprey nests is important because it indicates the bay waters are clean. And he pointed out the seagull nests, but told us that the babies in the nest wouldn’t be seagulls –they would be bagels.
Emma, standing in the bow of the Madaket Ferry.
We also did lots of walking in Old Town, visiting all sorts of shops. We each have a $50.00 souvenir budget for the trip, and we’ve all bought some small things at places we’ve visited, but saved most of it for Eureka. In addition, we mailed postcards today at the post office, and for a late lunch chose one of the many seafood restaurants so that Rob could sample the main catch from Humboldt Bay: oysters. I don’t like seafood, and with Emma’s peanut allergy, we’ve kept her away from shellfish, so we split a non-seafood entrée.
Yet another great, but relaxed, day. Tomorrow will be our last whole day of vacation --on Wednesday we'll have to get things packed up, since we need to leave early Thursday morning. We're driving home in four days, rather than five, so each day will contain more hours in the car.