Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Seymore Marine Discovery Center and Jane's

Let's see...well, we've been going to a lot of races. I've been enjoying taking pictures, watching the finishers come in (I don't get to do that when I race because I'm at the back of the pack) and watching the kids races; these pictures are from recent races in Salinas and Santa Cruz.

I've been running the courses as a workout while I train to improve my 800m time. As far as training goes, I'm doing two speed workouts a week, a long run and two easy runs. Yesterday was long run day and I did seven miles. For xtraining, we did a 5.5 mile hike @ Wilder Ranch Monday. It was lovely. We spotted another snake on this trip and loads of wildflowers. The fog was low but a blue sky overhead provided warmth that softened the cool ocean breezes.

My partner came in second place at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center 5k a couple of weeks ago. The winners received a basket of gourmet cookies, a mini tour of the facilities and viewing of tanks not accessible to the general public.

The Discovery Center is located on the coast on the northern most edge of Santa Cruz. The location is adjacent to Wilder Ranch so it feels remote. The collection of tanks is small but the focus is on education and there is a lot to take in. They have a touch-pool with star fish, anemones, urchins, sea cucumbers and more. There's a nice collection of tanks that house sunstars, leopard shark, eels and many other critters.

The tour took us to a building across the driveway from the Center, through a hallway lined with laboratories and out to an area with two holding tanks. The tanks held two resident bottle-nose dolphins who are helping researchers learn more about the effects of sonar on dolphins (I'm a little wary about what that entails). The guide told us that they are trying to find out if they can create a warning system for the dolphins and other ocean dwellers who suffer from "the bends" as a result of naval sonar. I hope they can figure something out.

The researchers/trainers had the dolphins run through a few exercises for us and we each had a photo taken with one of the dolphins.

The Center has a beautiful path on the bluffs with benches and places to enjoy a lunch or just take in the view. There is an admission fee, parking is free.


After the award ceremony we went to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The weather was amazing and there were plenty of people picnicking on the beach and strolling on the promenade. Even with so many people the lines for the rides were short. I was feeling brave and went on Double Shot. It's not just a drop ride, it zips you up so fast you leave your seat when it stops suddenly and then down you go to a stop and then up again. It's really thrilling and extremely fun! On the beach stage, there was a preview of an acrobatic act that is scheduled to perform this summer. The events on the stage are entertaining, they're free and the line up for the Friday night concerts is interesting.

As the fun continued, we went to the Jane's Addiction concert at Shoreline. I'm not a big fan of Jane's but the drummer is my brother-in-law; he's a talented, smart and funny guy whom I hadn't seen for a couple of years, so a visit was in order. We were able to visit for a few minutes after his show before the band boarded the bus bound for Washington.

Back-stage access is always fun. I met some interesting folks including an Olympic runner and a inventor who came up with a nifty streamer for emergency rescue. The back-up band was NIN (I was a big NIN fan in the 80s) and the performance was loud and intense. It was a great night overall.

We're taking it slow this week, I've started another writing journey and hope to finish it by the end of the month. But we'll be hiking and tending our new and improved garden and I'll post updates here, on CA Dreamin'.

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