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The Asilomar dining hall will provide participants a packed bag lunch at no additional cost. Field trip participants must get their own bag lunch on the morning of the field trip at breakfast. Notify the Asilomar Dining Hall in advance that you will need a bag lunch.

Whale watching on Monterey Bay

Humpback whale tail

Discovery Whale Watch https://discoverywhalewatch.com/

Monterey Bay, with its deep submarine canyons and strong upwelling, provides rich waters that attract numerous species of whales. In summer months, humpbacks and dolphins are abundant and often blue whales and orcas are possible sightings. Bird life is also abundant and brown pelicans, Cassin’s auklets, murres, cormorants, and albatrosses are likely species to be encountered.

Departs from: Check in at Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey at 8:30 am. Participants must provide their own transportation to Fisherman’s Wharf. Departs 9 am sharp!
Duration
: 4 hours
Maximum number of participants: 55
Cost: $50/person
Lunch: Pick up bag lunch at Asilomar at breakfast
Beverages: Boat provides complimentary tea, coffee and hot chocolate; beer and wine available for purchase.
Dress: Wear several layers of clothing as foggy and windy conditions can be expected. Long pants and close-toed shoes are recommended. You may also want to wear a warm hat.
Bring: sunblock, camera, binoculars

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Following in the footsteps of Steinbeck & Ricketts with Alan Kabat

Ed "Doc" Ricketts and John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck (pictured at right) and Ed "Doc" Ricketts (pictured at left), two of the best known persons from Monterey County, are well known to biologists for their contributions to marine biology through The Sea of Cortez and Between Pacific Tides. Join us as we explore their friendship and significant places in their lives in Salinas, Monterey, and Pacific Grove.

This field trip will start with a bus drive to the National Steinbeck Center (Salinas), where we will have a guided tour, including highlights about Steinbeck and Ricketts from their Archives. Lunch at the nearby Steinbeck House (where John S. grew up), followed by a stop at the Steinbeck family cemetery plot. We then go to Cannery Row, where we will get a special tour of Ricketts' "Pacific Biological Laboratory," and a behind-the-scenes tour of the nearby Hopkins Marine Station, including material relating to Ricketts.

Lisa Josephs (Steinbeck Center), Susan Shillinglaw (San Jose State University), William Gilly (Hopkins Marine Station) and Donald Kohrs (Hopkins Marine Station) will share their enthusiasm and expertise with us. This field trip will give you a much better appreciation for the life, work, and friendship of Steinbeck and Ricketts.

Departs from: Asilomar Social Hall at 9 am 
Duration: 6 hours
Maximum number of participants: 40
Cost: $65/person
Lunch: Included in field trip cost
Beverages: Bring your own water bottle
Dress: Comfortable walking shoes recommended
Bring: camera

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Big Sur Coastline

Aerial photo of Big Sur coastline and Highway 1

South of Monterey, California’s rugged coastline provides one of the most spectacular maritime vistas in the world. The rugged Pacific coast has high peaks dotted with coast redwoods that extend right to the water’s edge. This trip takes you to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park where you can walk through a redwood forest and stop along the way at numerous scenic vistas. On the return, stop for a brief coffee break at the famous Nepenthe restaurant, home to hippies, Bohemians, and artists.

Departs from: Asilomar Social Hall at 9 am
Duration: 6 hours
Maximum number of participants: 32
Cost: $30/person
Lunch: Pick up bag lunch at Asilomar at breakfast
Beverages: Bring your own water bottle
Dress: Wear several layers of clothing as foggy and windy conditions can be expected. Comfortable walking shoes recommended.
Bring: sunblock, camera, binoculars

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Wine tasting in Carmel Valley & Santa Lucia Mountains

People wine tasting in the Carmel Valley

The Monterey Bay Area is home to some of the world’s finest pinot noir and chardonnays, along with other world class varietals. This wine tasting adventure will start with a scenic drive along famous 17- Mile Drive followed by a picnic lunch in Carmel Valley at Garland Ranch Park. Wine tasting will follow in Carmel Valley Village at three tasting rooms: Bernardus, Boekenoogen and Personage. If time permits participants may also visit other nearby wine tasting rooms at their own expense. Cost $85/person includes wine tastings at 3 tasting rooms.

Departs from: Asilomar Social Hall at 11:00 am
Duration: 5 hours
Maximum number of participants: 28
Cost: $85/person (includes wine tastings at 3 tasting rooms)
Lunch: Pick up bag lunch at Asilomar at breakfast
Beverages:Wine, see above
Dress: Wear burgundy colored top so your wine stains won’t show
Bring: A strong disposition and a clean palate

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Marine mammal viewing at Point Lobos & Elkhorn Slough with David Lindberg

Sea otters floating on their backs in Elkhorn Slough

Marine mammals abound along the shoreline of Monterey Bay and Elkhorn Slough. Point Lobos Reserve is a California State Park that is home to California sea lions, harbor seals, and sea otters which we will view from trails above this spectacular coastline. From Point Lobos you will travel north to visit Elkhorn Slough where the closest sightings of sea otters are expected.

Departs from: Asilomar Social Hall at 9 am
Duration: 7 hours
Maximum number of participants: 11
Cost: $75/person
Lunch: Pick up bag lunch at Asilomar at breakfast
Beverages: Bring your own water bottle
Dress: Wear several layers of clothing as foggy and windy conditions can be expected. You may also want to wear a warm hat.
Bring: Sunblock, camera, binoculars

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Marine fossils of Capitola Beach with Peter Roopnarine

Fossilized shells embedded in a rock

The yellow-brown sandstones of Capitola Beach contain fossils that are part of the Purisma formation. Collecting is best at low tide, when the outcroppings are most exposed. The fossils originate from the Pliocene epoch of the Neogene period. Bivalves, gastropods, sea urchins, crabs, and marine mammal bones from whales and seals can be found. Shark teeth have also been recovered from the beach, but are rare.

Departs from: Asilomar Social Hall at 7 am
Duration: 5 hours
Maximum number of participants: 11
Cost: $55/person
Lunch: Pick up bag lunch at Asilomar the Tuesday night before
Beverages: Bring your own water bottle
Dress: Wear several layers of clothing as foggy and windy conditions can be expected. You may also bring waterproof boots or a change of footwear if your feet get wet.
Bring: Sunblock and a hat

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Land snails and slugs of Monterey County with Tim Pearce & John Slapcinsky

Banana slug

From sand dune habitats to cypress groves and redwood forests, the Monterey area is rich in native California land mollusks, including the fabled banana slug. Explore these diverse habitats to search for snails and slugs.

Departs from: Asilomar Social Hall at 9 am
Duration: 6 hours
Maximum number of participants: 11
Cost: $70/person
Lunch: Pick up bag lunch at Asilomar at breakfast
Beverages: Bring your own water bottle
Dress: Wear several layers of clothing as foggy conditions can be expected
Bring: Sunblock and a hat for when the fog burns off

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Just added: A Special behind the scenes tour of the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium Pacific Tank

Monterey Bay Aquarium (Cannery Row)

NOTE: This is not on the same day as the rest of the field trips but takes place on Friday, August 16

Join us for an unforgettable guided tour of the fantastic Monterey Bay Aquarium, which includes a behind-the-scenes visit to several areas of the Aquarium that are not open to the general public. The admission fee includes both regular admission and the special access group tour. The tour starts at 3:45 pm, and takes up to 1 hour; you can stay longer at the Aquarium until closing (6 pm), which will give you time to return to Asilomar for the end-of-meeting banquet!

The advance pricing for the admission and the tour is:

  • $44.95 (children ages 6-12) (children under 6 are not allowed behind-the-scenes).
  • $54.95 (youth 13-17, college students with ID, seniors 65+)
  • $64.95 (adults 18-64)

We are currently scheduled for three groups of 12 each (36 total); we will keep a wait list and if there is enough demand, we will request a fourth group (48 total).

Please note that transportation to/from the Aquarium is NOT included. We will try to coordinate car-pooling and ride-sharing. Also, this tour is scheduled for the same time as the Unitas business meeting – if you are an officer or otherwise planning on attending the business meeting, then we will have some discount coupons for you to attend on the Saturday or Sunday (August 17-18).

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Or, plan your own activity!

Couple kayaking in Monterey Bay

Adventures by the Sea provides opportunities for bicycling, paddleboarding and kayaking.

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