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Kayak Connection. In March, April, and May, participants on this outfit's tours mingle with gray whales and their calves on their northward journey to Alaska. Throughout the year, the company rents kayaks and paddle boards and conducts tours of Natural Bridges State Beach, Capitola, and Elkhorn Slough. Most regularly scheduled tours cost $55. Santa Cruz Harbor, 413 Lake Ave. #3, Santa Cruz, CA, 95062. 831/479–1121. www.kayakconnection.com.
Venture Quest Kayaking. Explore hidden coves and kelp forests on guided nature tours that depart from Santa Cruz Wharf or Harbor, depending on the season. A two-hour kayak nature tour and introductory lesson costs $58. A three-hour kayak rental is $30 and includes wet suit and gear. Venture Quest also arranges tours at other Monterey Bay destinations, including Capitola and Elkhorn Slough. #2 Santa Cruz Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060. 831/427–2267 kayak hotline; 831/425–8445 rental office. www.kayaksantacruz.com.
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