Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Day at The Beach

Okay, I was going to title this entry “The Big Swell”, but I just knew that those of you out there with dirty minds would make something…ahem…dirty out of that so “A Day at the Beach” it is.

Remember back when I made my Resolutions for 2007 and one of them was to get down to the beach more often? Well, I’ve been making good on that by going for walks after work and on weekends at some of my favorite beaches when the weather allows.

All this got me to thinking about how much I love the beach and how I’ve always lived near it because Dad was in the Navy until 1970. Except for being born in Idaho Falls, ID (hey, don’t ask me why the Navy has its nuclear submarine training program there – they just DO), every state I’ve lived in (CT, VA, SC, HI, CA) we’ve lived at or near the beach and all of my earliest memories involve the ocean somehow. I still remember putting horseshoe crabs back in the water in Virginia Beach after some teenage vandals had turned them all upside down on the sand so they’d die.

Horshoe crab pics:

I remember watching the fishermen pull nets up onto the sand on that same beach and the day that a small shark bit one of the fishermen’s fingers off while we watched. I remember learning to body surf at Sandy Beach on Oahu and being the only girl surfer in the water at The Wedge on a red flag day when the waves were over 6’ high.

Back before Dad taught me to body surf, he was an original longboard surfer. He used to have a bright yellow board that we called “the big banana” (until it got stolen in Hawaii) and he was the one who turned me onto the classic surf movies such as “Endless Summer” and “Big Wednesday.” (By the way if you haven't seen this movie, can I just say...Jan Michael Vincent BEFORE he became a wacked out addict who nearly offed himself and ruined his face in a car crash).

In fact, “Big Wednesday” gives a great idea of the kind of swell that recently hit our beaches. A week or so ago, we had an unusually big swell for several days resulting in 10-12 foot waves. Unfortunately, due to work and other responsibilities, I wasn’t able to make it down to see the surf on those days, but I did go down on Saturday to see the results and holy cow was there a lot of stuff tossed up on the beach. I don’t remember ever seeing this amount of debris get up onto the sand. At Main Beach in Laguna, the city had collected most of the debris into a number of large piles that were each at least waist high and about the length of a school bus:

I took a few shots of some of the things I found:

Surf and Turf, anyone?

Giant turban snail:

Another turban snail, but this one was still occupied so I put it back in the water in the hopes of rescuing it. It moved off under its own power so I have hopes that the rescue was successful. Go, snail, go!

Yes, this is how I spend my days, people. I rescue giant snails because that’s just the kind of girl I am.

Also found this beautiful clam shell:

I was going to take this one home, but when I turned it over, I found it was still...partially...occupied. Ick. Oh well, guess the gulls have to eat, too.

The weather turned crappy later in the day after I left, but it was glorious the morning I was down there and the surf was still pretty decent:

Damn, but I love living in So Cal.

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