This post is sponsored by REI but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Living in the beautiful Bay Area, great weather brings an abundance of outdoor activities. We are truly blessed to have so much nature in our backyard. I have decided that getting back to nature is one very important way I can set a good example for my children. While they do not always attend all of my outdoor adventures, knowing that Mom is exercising, exploring or simply meditating is an important way to teach them healthy habits for the future. IMG_4428

With that being said, when REI reached out and offered me to go on an outdoor adventure, I could not pass it up! Sea Otters are my absolute favorite animals, so without thinking twice, I chose the Sea Otter Kayak Tour. Let me just tell you that this tour did not disappoint! IMG_2650

I brought my friend Kristin with me on this adventure, which departed out of Moss Landing and took us through the Elkhorn Slough. Our guides, Christy and Allison, were so helpful from start to finish. They were friendly and so knowledgeable about the animals that inhabit the Elkhorn Slough State Marine Reserve. IMG_4363

With some kayak experience, I took the stern (which is the back of the kayak, meant for the more experienced kayaker). This was a little tougher than I thought it would be, and I was actually the only female doing it in our group. IMG_4409IMG_4411

I cannot even tell you how much wildlife we encountered! It was amazing! We saw the most adorable sea otters in their natural habitat. They were eating, playing, sleeping, cuddling and swimming around without a care in the world. I could not believe how close they came to our kayaks! We were coached before-hand by our guides to keep a decent distance from them as to not disrupt them or make them too comfortable around people. Since they are still a protected species who were at one time on the brink of extinction, this was understandable, and everyone respected these rules. IMG_4415 2IMG_4402IMG_4398

We learned so much about what they eat, their lifespan, and how they became endangered. I was surprised and saddened to hear that the sea otters’ only enemy is humans. Even sharks do not prefer sea otters since their bodies are so small and contain two thick layers of fur. I am so happy to see them protected and flourishing in the Monterey Bay.

This experience REI experience was one for the books! REI has so many more outdoor classes, experiences and excursions to fit every experience level. I am so excited to try more. Becoming an REI member gives additional benefits and discounts. Find out more HERE! IMG_4428

REI has definitely given me a new way to discover not only the outdoors, but my own backyard! In addition, I met new people and became closer with my friend Kristin whom came with me!

We even ended the adventure with a glass of wine and a hug! Cheers to new adventures with REI! IMG_4430.jpg