We’re down to the final two events here in San Diego, California. The previous night, the others went to visit Pacific Beach while I stayed behind to catch up on blogging. I vow not to fall behind! I made sure to warn them that we had to wake up early again for event #8. Make sure to have your swim gear ready. We’re getting wet!
Event #8 of 9 – Exploring the Sea Caves and Kayaking
We took a lyft a few miles away to a place called La Jolla Kayak Adventures. I reserved us two double kayaks to take out into the ocean with a larger group. The plan was to kayak out to nearby caves and snorkel ourselves inside them. This would take a few hours and I was ready! We partnered up. The two pro adventurists, Chris and myself, partnered up in one kayak while the other two rookies, Veronica and Jamie, took the other. The last time I kayaked was during our Reaching Out 2 The World trip with the Kayamandi kids in South Africa. I remember Lupho being a great partner. Anyhow, we got our gear: helmets, flippers, a snorkel, mask, and a life vest and went out to the coast!
This was actually Jamie’s first time ever in an ocean before. Boy, was he gonna get a mouthful of sea saltiness! We paddled out several yards before Veronica started to get sea sick. I’m no fool. I took a motion sickness tablet beforehand. She didn’t take one because she didn’t think she would succumb to the motion of the ocean. At least she’ll know for next time.
We continued paddling out closer to the caves. We were then allowed to take off our life vests and helmets, put on our snorkeling gear, and dive right in. Now, there are many sunny days here in San Diego. Today was not one of them. There was an overcast that completely blocked the sun’s fiery warmth that we all wanted, which warranted super cold water. No matter, we all jumped right in to a brisk shock but grew used to the temperature within minutes. The water was a bit murky and we could only see a few fish underneath, but once we swam closer to the caves entrances, the number of fish we could see rose and seals would start swimming all around and underneath us! It’s almost like we didn’t exist to them. As if they knew we were tourists just coming through to see their homes. No harm done.
Speaking of tourists, our group of kayakers and snorkelers were full of people who never stepped foot into an ocean. Or at least they acted if so. While trying to swim through the caves, the people in front of us were slow as molasses, too scared to enter, or just simply didn’t know what the heck they were doing. “Don’t touch the cave walls. They’re really sharp and will cut you up!” said the instructor. I come to find that a couple of the snorkelers had bloody hands and arms…from doing the exact opposite of what the instructor said. Great, now you’re gonna attract the sharks. That was the first thing that crossed my mind. Remember what happened to me in Vietnam?
The water was very choppy inside the caves and we as a group were in a giant rocky clusterball. You ever played pinball and earned that one bonus round where dozens of balls would pop out at once and bounce all over the place? Well, we were those pinballs and the cave walls was the pinball machine. It still made for great fun though. I couldn’t stop laughing at everyone! I accidentally swallowed a lot of seal poopy salt water from laughing so much. Instant karma.
After swimming around with the seals for a bit, we swam back to our kayaks. Jamie and Veronica went full on turbo-mode and jetted back to the coast to avoid getting sea sick again. Chris and I casually waited for the others in our group and eventually made our way back to the beach soon after. The sun started to pop out, which was perfect for our next and final event!
Event #9 of 9 – Gaslamp Quarter Beer Crawl
“Alright everyone! We’re getting fancy tonight!” I had planned for the beer crawl to be the final event, because it’d be the perfect way to close out our stay in San Diego. I couldn’t find an official beer crawl that ran on Sundays so I just created my own. There’s an area in downtown San Diego called the Gaslamp Quarter that is filled to the brim with cool bars and breweries.
San Diego has a wide selection of local craft beers that I wanted all of us to discover for the first time, including myself. I did research on the best bars with the best brews for the best buck and I managed to create a pretty solid list of places all within walking distance. Ike liked us all so much, he drove all the way from Vegas to San Diego to join in on the fun. We took a lyft to the Gaslamp Quarter and that’s when I informed everyone that we are on a beer crawl and that I was the Crawl Master! I had the list of places we needed to go all mapped on my iPhone.
To avoid too much of a hangover, the plan was to get some appetizers at every place we went, in addition to one featured beer or flights of beer at each locale. The bartender at each stop gave me their opinion on their tastiest and most popular beer. It was also Sunday so good news for us, most of the places weren’t crowded at all.
Some bars had games inside, and after a little drinking, these games became that much funner than the norm.
One of the games we played at one of the bars was Operation. This is how you know we were on our way to a memorable night. One of us in our group “accidentally” swallowed one of the organ pieces. I won’t say who though! Take your best guess.
I only had a few simple rules for this beer crawl. No cocktails. Only local craft beers. And everyone has to have at least one water wherever we go. Shots are fine if you really want them! And we all must try the same beer. We abided by those rules pretty easily. Towards the end of night, our last stop was called the Barley Mash, which is more like a club-type bar. Once we got here, we were all so crushed on beer, I let everyone get whatever they wanted.
We ended up going to seven different bars: Quality Social, The Tipsy Crow, The Local, Commons, Henrys Pub, Barley Mash, and The Hoppin’ Pig. Some of us only made it to six of those places. We were all feeling it by the end but you know what? We all woke up fine and dandy because of all the water and food we ate along the way. Well, at least fine for the most part. By the way here is a list of the beer’s we all tried:
Quadro Critical (The winner of the night in my book)
Coronado Mermaid’s Red
Karl Strauss Mosaic Session Ale (My least favorite of the bunch)
Saint Archer Pale Ale
Strongbow Hard Cider
Fat Cat Bro-Oceanography
St. Archer White Ale
Mother Earth California Creamin’
Yes, we kept track of what beer we had at which location the whole time. I don’t know how we managed it, but we did! We even signed and rated each beer on a scale of 1 to 10 on a piece of paper we held on to. As the Beer Master, I toned it down a bit on my drinking, to keep track of my cohorts throughout the night. Fine work everyone. We have stories for days!
The End of The 9 Events
Well that does it. All nine events are done and over. I brought along Veronica, Chris, and Jaime because they are all simply fun people to be around. They barely knew of each other before this, but by the end we all became pretty tight. A successful trip! Here’s a recap of the nine events:
1. Skydive Las Vegas
2. Biggest Dessert in the Country
3. Ice Bar
4. KA Cirque Du Soleil
5. Zipline Across Old Vegas
6. Paintball Wars
7. Cooking Class
8. Kayak and Sea Caves
9. Beer Crawl
After an exhaustive, yet thrilling week, it was time to say goodbye to my three amigos. Jaime and Veronica flew back home to Michigan, while Chris flew back home to Pennsylvania. Chris, my go-to traveling buddy, has teaching duties to get back to soon, but I’m pretty certain this won’t be the last you hear of him on this blog.
Once again, I am solo. I reorganized my bags and responded to all the emails from my readers of the blog! Thanks for all the compliments and questions everyone. I appreciate it and keep them coming! As of this writing, I am currently in Boston awaiting my flight to Iceland and then to The Netherlands.
Europe! You’ve been calling my name. I’m coming!