When visiting a coastal town there is always plenty to do from enjoying the local cuisine to spending time on the beach or having cocktails on the deck, watching the sun set.

There’s also shopping, something my wife has turned into an art form.

One other thing to consider is taking a bay cruise to get out on the water, closer to the wild life that make up the area you are visiting.

Morro Bay offers such an experience and we had the pleasure to enjoy Captain Stew’s Bay Cruise.

The 50-minute excursion takes you from one side of the bay to the other, showing the sights and the sea life in the area such as seals, sea lions, otters, birds, fish, occasionally dolphins.

Hanging with Captain Stew

Captain Stew Hamby is a wealth of knowledge and he shares stories throughout the cruise, giving you the history of the area, not just for the sea life, but the entire area.

Stew gave us up close views of the how the local fishing companies process their daily catches and informed us the eel caught in the Morro Bay area and regularly shipped to Japan.

There were stories about the former Morro Bay Power plant, as well as the three stacks from the plant that loom over the entire region. On our way out to famed Morro Bay Rock – more on that it our Morro Bay story – we slowed and got great views of the otters relaxing in seaweed beds that helped keep them safe.

It was awesome to see these animals keeping their young on top of them while they floated around.

The cruise took us along the “Rock” that is 23 million years old and has become a symbol for the region.

From there we cruised to the other end of the bay, seeing sea lions that had taken over a former dock and turned it into their own place to hang out. We also cruised close by many of the boats that are anchored in the bay and serve as residences for locals.

Stew even pointed out a house that was Sandra Bullock’s house in the movie Murder By Numbers.

It was an enjoyable outing and at 50 minutes, it is the perfect way to spend less than an hour to gain insight from a local skipper as to both the sea life and the region.

Stew’s busiest time of the year is from Memorial Day to Labor Day, a time where he takes out 8-10 cruises a day on the boat that holds 25. Over half each day are full cruises and it’s easy to see why.

We were fortunate to go on a Monday in the offseason and had just one other couple with us, allowing for a more personalized tour.

For more information, visit www.morrobaylanding.com or www.morrobay.org.

By Dennis Miller

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