We have been going without much of a break for months. We have relaxing time before bed when we usually read, watch a Star Trek rerun, or if we wifi some well deserved Netflix. But we haven’t spent a day somewhere all alone in the forest for a long time. We always try to make the most out of our days, if it’s raining or sunny we are going somewhere to do something we think is cool. I am so grateful for the days I have snowboarding, hiking, hot springing, meeting new people, and doing any new hobby we find; but everyone needs a day to themselves.
On the California coast, we got to the beach at 11am. Our bag packed with books, sunscreen, cards, water, and our sun shade. No phone service, no outside interruptions. The recipe for a perfect day.
Danny wandered the beach with his book, looking up to see the beach monuments he had walked too. Our eyes find each other and he starts to charade a sea lion, flopping his arms as they do in the zoo. Figuring he saw a pup in the waves I blew him a kiss and went back to my book. He makes his way to our mini day camp and tells me a dead sea lion has washed ashore. The sea dweller looked like a bag of his former self. Almost boneless. His eyes were gone, probably from the first of the scavengers, and he was being circled by seagulls and vultures. Most would be troubled by death, and even though seeing something decompose is not appealing, I stayed positive, remembering all the life that comes from death.
Getting lost staring into the waves is one of my favorite beach activities. No thinking, just listening to the water and watching time float by. “Hand me the binoculars! I saw a spout!” Danny spotted our first whale! I quickly gave him the vintage binoculars and studied the shore. Past the waves, past the surfer, into the open ocean a white geyser shoots into the air. Another erupts right past the first. Two whales were passing us on their annual migration to Alaska from Baja California. We pass each other the binoculars back and forth, taking turns watching close up and with our eyes. I followed Danny up a dune for a better vantage point. Our whales started giving us a show, throwing their tails into the air and splashing them down. Earlier that day, we thought we’d never see them, and had given up. How refreshing that the day after seeing a decomposing whale on a beach in California, we finally saw whales alive and well, heading up the coast.
Danny changed into his wetsuit and headed out for the waves. I looked to the ocean and saw another spout right past the waves. The whales were pretty close now. Danny paddled out on his surfboard and nearby on the horizon I saw another spout. I carefully looked through the binoculars and saw an animal jump almost completely out of the water fin pointing straight up. This was bigger than dolphins I’d seen before, but being silhouetted by the sun, I couldn’t see the coloring. Nonetheless, orca whales had joined the excitement.
As sunset started to fall over the water, we heard seals beginning to bark. We both ran to the waves. A group of seven seals were playing in the water together. Body surfing the waves one after the other with perfection.
This was a beach that people had forgotten, thankfully. Driftwood was scattered along the sand, animals were a constant in the sea, sand and air and almost no one to be found. The dunes were tall enough to practice our new beach sport, sand boarding. An old boat was buried in the sand still tied to a wooden post. The price: free. Unlike 2 beaches we passed on the way. How perfect to start May whale-watching on a beach in California. As hopefully by the end of this month, we will be in Alaska as the whales arrive.
What a nice day on our forgotten beach.