Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A cool thing happened to me on the way to the beach.

I meant to write about this a couple of weeks ago when it first happened, but y’know, life stuff got in the way. Still, it was one of the cooler things I’ve ever gotten to experience so I wanted to make sure to share the story.

It being summer in Southern California, the kidlet and I have been hanging out at the beach.

A lot.

He has a blast. It’s free. It’s great exercise for both of us and I believe that we’ve now caught every single sand crab between Main Beach and Corona Del Mar. He never gets tired of catching them. I should’ve known that would happen – after all, the kid spent about 2 years out of his 4 year existence being utterly fascinated by snails.

Well, apparently, sand crab is the new snail.

Oh, and I SOOOO went way up on the “cool-o-meter” when I showed him how to catch them. I rock.

But, I also digress.

So, a couple of weeks ago, the kid and I headed out to my favorite beach in north Laguna called Crescent Bay. It’s prime sand crab territory don’tcha know. As we head down the hill to the beach, I realize there’s a big crowd on the sand and some chick is talking away on a megaphone although I’m not yet close enough to hear what she’s saying. Now, this being Laguna, it could be anything from a wedding to an injured surfer to some weird sea creature (yes, I’ve seen a couple, but that’s another story) getting coughed up on the sand to the Laguna Beach Hare Krishnas doing their daily dance or whatever.

But as we get closer, I see a vehicle parked out on the sand, with the logo of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center on the side and two cages being offloaded onto the beach. We’d walked right into the release party for two rehabilitated California sea lions!

We got to watch them open the doors on the cages and see the two pups head for the waves. Well, one of them headed for the waves. The other decided he liked his cage and all the free fish just fine and had to be persuaded to go, but once he got into the water he and the other sea lion had a great time playing in the waves and then heading off to the rocks where the rest of the wild sea lions hang out.

The Rescue Center is located right on Laguna Canyon Road and while I knew they did animal releases on the beach, I’ve never been privileged to actually witness one live before. It looks like they don’t have pictures of this particular event on the website yet, but the pics from their April release are on the same beach (Crescent Bay) and the animals are about the same size and weight as the ones I saw released so you can get an idea by checking out this page.

I just love days like that where you randomly happen onto something cool!


P.S. The center really does fantastic work and has been around for a long time. It’s part of a national network of marine mammal rescue centers and is definitely a worthy cause if you are looking for something to donate to.

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