PHOTO: Rafting sea otters. (photo via Flickr/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
California’s sea otter population has been steadily making a comeback and, although they are still considered endangered, sightings of otters are becoming more and more plentiful along California’s coastline.
According to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times, sea otters have been spotted frolicking in great numbers. Here's where to find them:
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Moss Landing State Beach, Monterey Bay
Moss Landing is one of the most likely places to catch a glimpse of these cuddly creatures. A protected cove near Moss Landing State Beach, located near the dunes, is where visitors can see bachelor otters floating in a formation known as a “raft.”
The formation can have as few as two or as many as 100 otters sleeping side by side, wrapped in kelp so they stay close together.
Visitors can take to the water to get a closer look on a kayak or standup paddleboard.
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Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey Bay
You don’t have to jump into the ocean to see a sea otter in the wild. They are sometimes easily spotted from the Monterey’s wharf.
In fact, you can sit down for a meal along the water and spot otters playing in the kelp beds that line the shore, diving for seafood or even playing underneath the pier.
Point Lobos State Reserve in Carmel is a most beautiful spot for hiking on the Central Coast, and it’s a popular place to watch sea otters as well. Visitors are almost sure to see them bobbing near the shores and in protective coves, especially Sand Hill Cove, Whalers Cove and Cypress Cove.
Were you to miss the sea otters for some reason, the area is so stunning and full of life, you'll still walk away happy.
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Farther south, in Avila Beach, a high-speed adventure on the Seaweed Express takes visitors right up to the kelp bed for up-close viewing of otters at play. Guests ride on an avon raft around the small bay, checking out sea lions, otters and a cool coastal cave. The ride is half adventure, half wildlife experience and pretty much all fun.
For those with a keen eye (or a pair of binoculars), you can also spot the otters from the pier or even the beach.
The L.A. Times reports that as many as 60 sea otters have taken up residence in Morro Bay, including 20 pups. While visitors are spotting them from the pier, kayaking around the bay is another way to incorporate an energetic afternoon with some sea otter sightings.