Avila Beach to Santa Barbara

Pacific Mackerel

From Morro Bay , after a quick fish for me ( and hooking a ray ) and a walk to Morro rock for Lil, we went a few miles around the corner to the beautiful Avila Beach. The RV camp was a state Park with minimal facilities , but hookup to power and town water if you get in early enough , which we did . The camp faces south and looks out over the beautiful San Luis bay . The South facing aspect means the beach is generally protected from the prevailing swells . There are two public piers , one of which is still a working pier and has a restaurant on the end of the pier. The day we arrived was rather hot due to the protection of the headland from the breeze but cooled off later in the day with a change in wind direction . I went for a dip in the water and without the wetsuit at least the water was a tolerable temperature (finally).Later  Lil went for a walk in to the township while I went and fished from the pier . The Sea lions are here on mass in the bay with a big colony camped on some of the man made structures on the bay  Their barking pretty much goes on all night.
Following morning I tossed line in early with no result , fishing being limited to the pier as no license is required. Later I went for a run back towards the township and on to the Bob Jones Trail which is a shared shaded bath that goes for about 4.5 km or so north of the town. Before lunch I tried my hand again at the pier . Just as I was about to give it away something finally took my “Sabiki” rig . As I reeled it in the pressure got greater and greater and there was a big swirl of silver just under the surface. As it broke the surface it turned out to be 4 mackerel on the jig rather than a big fish . The next cast returned 3 more mackerel . I think this could have gone on as nauseam  , so I called it quits after 10 , and my rigs had been turned in to tangles by the multiple hookups anyway.
Anyway it was mackerel for lunch , and turns out they taste pretty good , despite their name of “slimies”( which has more to do with handling them as I found out) and their main use for bait back home. They were of course the basis for a huge fishery and cannery here in California for decades. Later that afternoon I donned the wetsuit and went for a long swim in the bay – the first time the air and water temperature and water clarity has allowed it . The water temperatures have been a surprise for me , considering we have always been at latitude closer to the equator than Melbourne, but turns out the “California” current originates up near Alaska and keeps temperatures down compared to the Southern Equatorial counter current which keeps the south coast of NSW warmer .
The following morning we went for a walk along the Bob Jones trail and back then packed up and headed for Santa Barbara. After arriving here and having lunch we went for walk to the beach and into town which turned out to be a lot longer than expected due to a wrong turn . Along the beach we noted that one of the Navy’s aircraft carriers was anchored offshore . It is a massive craft dwarfing anything else near it . The town itself is picturesque and all of the buildings have a Mexican/Spanish influence , including Ralph’s – the grocery we shopped at.  Our route back to the RV park took us through what is largely a Hispanic residential area where maybe their are a few issues as all the properties seem to be protected by large guard dogs ! Seems we have swapped  the barking of the Sea Lions of the last 2 nights for the noise of the freeway traffic .


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