Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Day At Our Favorite Beach - Crystal Cove

The week of April 7-11 was Spring Break for my son.  Normally, we take a trip out to Palm Desert, but we are using our timeshare points for something else this year so we didn't go anywhere.  I worked part of the week and he went to the YMCA program, but I thought he should get SOME time off so I took a couple of vacation days so we could hang out together.  The early part of the week was really hot (90+ degrees) so I thought we'd go to the beach on our days off.  Of course, by then, the weather had started to shift a bit, but I thought we might still be able to get away with it.

Yeah, not so much.  It was nice in the morning, but we got a late start and by the time we got down there, the marine layer was moving in and it turned kind of cold.  We managed to have a few adventures anyway...a cold day at the beach is still better than any other day anywhere else!

See what I mean about the marine layer?  Still, I love the semi-deserted feel of the beach on days like this...far different from summer when you can barely find a patch of sand wide enough to put your chair down on.

There had been some kind of huge sand castle building contest earlier in the day at this beach.  Most of the pieces were gone by the time we got there, but there were a couple left that were so cool I had to take photos of them.  This is the Eiffel Tower.

And this is a pretty amazing replica of the Casino at Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island.

After a really brave attempt at boogie boarding, Ryan declared it much too cold to be in the water, so we decided to head for the tide pools to see what we could find.  It was low tide so a lot of the mussel beds were exposed.  I realized while looking at them how much they make me think of Sodalite and I figured there's a future jewelry design in that thought so I took this picture to make sure I would remember.  The three white/green things in the center of the photo are gooseneck barnacles.  Usually, we find a lot of starfish on the mussel beds, but there weren't any on this day...maybe too early/cold or something.

Tide pool with anemones and snails.  Didn't find any hermit crabs in this one, though. 

I was puzzled by this.  Huge anemone with an open mussel shell in its arms...now I ask you...since neither anemones nor mussels move around, how did it get this shell?  The shell was opened and the animal inside was gone so I can only assume the anemone ate it...except I didn't think they ate that type of thing.

Shell scavenging was pretty sparse, but we did find a few of these pink keyhole limpets.

More mussels and sea anemones.

One really giant anemone.

Ryan said I had to take a picture of this HUGE limpet.

This bird decided to brave the surf splashing on the rocks...

...while its buddies looked for yummy treats in the sand.

According to my detailed research (I Googled), these are Marbled Godwits...and for some reason I find that name really funny to say and now I can't stop saying it and laughing.  Marbled Godwit.  Marbled Godwit.  See?

Sandy fingers brought to you by Ryan.  He was so proud that he found a shell "just like Mommy."

Okay, we have been to this beach like a jillion times and for some reason, I never noticed these unusual, circular rock formations before.  Doesn't this look just like a manhole cover almost?

Here's a larger one that is not buried in the sand.  You can see how the swirling action of the water around the rock has carved this shape over time.

I know there's a specific name for these formations...I just can't remember what it is.

Hermit crabs!  We finally found a pool that had some!

I know this is a boring landscape photo, but I took it to show the typical colors of coastal cliffs.  People think California is all green and palm trees and stuff, but we are really more of a coastal desert.  It's only April and already most of the vegetation is gray or brown...just a few spots of green and they won't last too much longer.

I got super excited when I first noticed this guy at the top of the cliff...

I had to really play with the zoom on my camera to try to get a better shot so I could see if my suspicions were correct...

...and I think they are.  I think this may be a peregrine falcon.  Now I've been informed that it's more likely an Osprey.  Definitely some sort of raptor and not one of our regular red-tail hawks that I see all the time.

At last...the sun finally made a very brief appearance at the end of the day.

And really, that pose just says it all...warm or cold...we love the beach!
Here...enjoy some Marbled Godwits and the sounds of the surf!
P.S.  I didn't get a photo of the best part of the day...there's a restaurant right on the sand called The Beachcomber Cafe and normally, it's packed and impossible to get into, but since it was a random Thursday with kinda crappy weather, they had some openings so we decided to eat dinner on their patio and watch the sunset.  Right after we sat down, there was suddenly a lot of shouting and excitement and the wait staff started ringing the ship's bell that hangs on the wall because...there was a WHALE swimming by right in front of the restaurant!  It surfaced multiple times and spouted and everything!  Now, we definitely have a whale season, but usually, you have to go out on a boat to see them.  In all my 44 years of living here, I have NEVER seen one right from the beach like this.  This whale was solo and was motoring northward all by itself.  It was so cool, but in my excitement and mad dash to run over to see it, I forgot to grab my camera LOL!  Still, Ryan and I got to see something totally amazing and once-in-a-lifetime!

1 comment:

TesoriTrovati said...

Thanks for the great trip to the beach! I don't often get to visit a beach, so it is fun to see. There are a lot of colors living there, from the pink limpet shells to the gray-green of those anemones (how cool! I would love to explore tide pools!) to the different tones of the sand and the surf. Looks like a great time. But that pic of your boy in the bright orange with his arms outstretched is priceless! Enjoy the day, Erin