187: Weekly Photo Challenge: Ocean

(Point Reyes, California.)

I could never stay long enough on the shore, the tang of the untainted, fresh and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.

~ Helen Keller

This week’s photo challenge from The Daily Post is Ocean.  I love the ocean.  If I had my druthers, I’d live near the ocean.  East coast, west coast, it doesn’t really matter.  I am probably most familiar with the Atlantic Ocean, having grown up on the east coast and vacationed there frequently as a child and as an adult.  But I do love the Pacific as well.  I think the advantage of west coast living would be the proximity to mountains and desert as well as the ocean.  Just think of all those different worlds and climates to explore.

Since I obviously cannot step outside or take a short drive to gather new photos of an ocean, I decided to dive into ye olde archives and bring out some photos from a place I visited briefly and would love to return to someday.  Point Reyes, California.  M and I were given a quick tour of the area by a friend back in 2006.  Our trip west was to San Francisco and nearby areas, and it happened to be a very rainy spring that year.

It rained off and on the day we went out to Point Reyes with our friend.  Even with the rain, the clouds, and the fog, I thought it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

Point Reyes is a peninsula that was first inhabited around 5,000 years ago by the Coast Miwok Indians.  There are over 120 known village sites within Point Reyes National Seashore.  The first European explorer to land at Point Reyes was Sir Francis Drake, in 1579.

Point Reyes Lighthouse

The Point Reyes Lighthouse was built in 1870 and retired in 1975 when they went to an automated light system.  We were not able to visit the lighthouse that day because the stairs were closed.

The views from where we stood when I took these photos were incredible.  You could turn in any direction and fill your eyes and soul with beauty.

Point Reyes National Seashore is home to a wide variety of plants and animals.  The animals range from large marine mammals such as the northern elephant seal to small butterflies.  The area is characterized by Mediterranean vegetation.

We did see quite a few animals that day.  Unfortunately, most of the photos I took of the wildlife (including a number of birds, some seals, and tule elk) did not turn out well.  Those that I did capture fairly well, such as the fallow deer, turned out to be non-native species.

If I could, I’d like to spend at least a month there, exploring and hiking around the area.  I’d better start playing the lottery.  😉

Today’s Outdoor Adventures

Not much has changed.  It’s another chilly, blue-sky day with a brisk north wind.  We woke up to frost and fog, and another pretty sunrise.

I had a lovely walk today.  We had a few visitors to the pond.  The mallards, who seem to have decided to stay for a while, were swimming around. They let me get closer than usual.

We also had a great blue heron stop by for a few hours.  The swallows, of course, are swooping and swirling around, catching insects near the water.  I did not see any of the turtles today.  I wonder if the frigid nights have driven them back into hibernation?

Sunlight on a tree limb

I stayed out for a while.  I thought I should enjoy the sun and clear skies while I can.  It’s supposed to get cloudy tomorrow.  And snow on Friday.

Perhaps we put away the cross-country skis too soon.

57: Going Home

(A California rose.)

It’s Tuesday morning as I type this.  I’m sitting on the deck of the condo we’re renting, occasionally getting caught up in watching and listening to the waves of the Pacific as they roll in.  It’s foggy this morning.  They say it will burn off by 10am.

(The Fish Tree.)

This has been a lovely trip with perfect weather.  The only thing missing was a swim in the ocean, something I’ve never done here.  I put my feet in.  I wade.  But I never swim.  I suppose if the weather got hot enough — to counteract the cold of the water — I might.  I love to swim in the sea and play in the waves.

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing this on Tuesday if it’s a Thursday post.  We’re heading home.  It’s going to  be a long travel day.  I’m not sure I’ll have the time or energy to post before the day is over.  The solution is a scheduled post.  Gotta love WordPress.

Once again I will have to be up at 2am to get ready to go to the airport.  That makes for a very long day.  It might not be so bad if I could sleep on the plane.  But I have a fear of flying so sleep is out of the question.  I stay awake to keep the plane in the air.  (It’s magic!  lol!)  As I was explaining to someone the other day, the fear doesn’t lessen with each flight.  I never understood the idea (or benefits) of desensitization therapy.  As far as I can tell, it doesn’t work.  Deep breaths, meditation, visualization… tried ’em all.  I still get anxious and afraid.  I spend the first part of the flight in a cold sweat of terror.   Eventually I relax out of sheer exhaustion until the descent and landing.

(Pacific Portal.  Shelter Island.)

I’d give up flying but it’s difficult to travel anywhere if you don’t fly.  It takes longer, for one thing.  A cross-country trip in the car would mean a couple of days travel time to get here, a couple of days travel time to get home, and not much time in between to enjoy actually being here.  So, I get on an airplane and hope for the best.

I don’t want to spend my remaining days here in sunny California dwelling on my fear of flying.  But it does help to sit with the fear using mindfulness techniques for a little while.  I’ve learned that trying to deny or ignore the fear doesn’t work.  Might as well sit with it with mindfulness and compassion for a few minutes.

(Walking the dogs.)

As of this writing, it’s been a great trip.  There has been time to relax as well as see some of the sights.  I’ve taken lots of long walks and had no difficulty at all meeting my outdoor commitment.

(Mission Bay sculpture.)

Home will be good, too.  I miss Izzy and Bella, and wonder how they’re doing.  I’m sure they are fine or I would have heard something from our house-/pet-sitter.  I will also enjoy sleeping in my own bed once again.  The bed here has been comfortable enough and I didn’t have any trouble sleeping, but there’s no place like home when it comes to comfort.

We had breakfast early this morning (that would be Tuesday) at Kono’s, a Pacific Beach institution.  On the weekends the line to get in is out the door and up the street.  A Kono’s breakfast is large, especially if you order a breakfast burrito, delicious, and the price is great.  Going early on a Tuesday, it wasn’t very crowded at all.  In fact, we were able to get a seat on the patio that overlooks the ocean.

Well, I guess that’s about it from San Diego for now.  Next time you hear from me, I’ll be back in the Bogs.

53: Sunday Signage San Diego Style

(The obligatory surfing shot from this morning.)

I spent a little time on Crystal Pier watching the surfers this morning.  Looks like the waves were pretty good, but what do I know?  I go by how many people are out there.  The water was looking a little crowded in spots today.

Since it’s Sunday, I thought I’d bring you a few signs from my walks and adventures in Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.

Yesterday M and I finally (yay!) saw the famous Green Flash at sunset.  I have to agree with M when he said it was more like a green squiggle.  Unfortunately, my attempt to photograph it was a big FAIL.  That’s okay.  At least we got to see it.  I enjoyed the feeling of camaraderie on the beach, too, when everyone cheered at the flash.  It reminded me of watching the sunset on Key West, a ritual that draws quite a crowd each evening.

(What happens if you fall while skiing?  Do you obey the sign and let yourself sink?)

This morning we were up early to go to Ski Beach to attend the San Diego Fall Rowing Classic.  Because we’re weird that way.  Any other couple would probably be doing the touristy stuff.  Not us.  Nope.  We go to Portuguese parades and rowing competitions and pipe organ concerts in the park.  (Actually, I think we’re going to miss the pipe organ concert because M probably won’t be able to fit it in this afternoon.)

(Refereeing the rowers and recreational boaters.)

To be honest, I like that we do this sort of thing.  It’s the first time I’ve seen a rowing competition.  Rowing looks like fun.  And hard work.

(Rowing, with the city of San Diego in the background.)

I’m just back from a long walk.  I need all the exercise I can get.  We have been eating a lot of good food, most of it of the healthful variety but still a goodly amount of calories.  I need to burn some of them off before we eat out again tonight.

(A good thing to do before stepping out into traffic.)

After lunch I’m off for another walk and then an hour or two of sitting on the beach, relaxing, maybe reading a page or two of the book I’ll carry with me.

(A view from Ski Beach this morning.)

(Graffiti on Joe’s Crab Shack.)

I’m not sure what the rest of the day holds in store.  Depends on what M wants to do.  The only plan I know of is to sit on the beach and watch the sunset.

(Volleyball net post.)

For those inquiring minds that want to know, a little trivia about today’s weather, tides, and Mission Beach:

  • It is sunny with a few high, thin clouds that seem to be burning off.  Today’s high is expected to be around 74 degrees.  It’s not nearly as windy as it has been the past few days, making it seem much warmer.
  • Low tide was at 10:23am.  (Next low tide is at 11:53pm.)  High tide will occur at 5:04pm.
  • Water temperature is 60-63 degrees (F).
  • Surf is 2-3 feet high.
  • Sunrise was at 6:18am.  Sunset will occur at 4:48pm.
  • The community of Mission Beach is built on a sandbar between Mission Bay and the Pacific Ocean.  It is part of the city of San Diego.



52: Scenes from San Diego

(Is this one of the Happy Cows of California??)

Most of these photos were taken in Mission Beach or Pacific Beach.  I might mix in a few from the city, depending on where I go with this.  (I almost never know where a blog post will take me.)  The cow pictured above was on the porch of one of the houses/condos on the bay side.  I have seen similar cows in Ohio but never expected to see one here in a beach setting.  It just goes to show you that there may be some truth in advertising.  The cows of the Midwest really are trying to move to sunny California.

(A Pacific Beach mermaid.)

It’s another gorgeous day.  I hear I have Christina to thank for that.  She ordered in a week’s worth of lovely weather just for us.  We’ll be getting together on Wednesday so I can thank her in person.  In the meantime, thank you so much, Christina, for the mild Santa Ana winds that are making this perfect beach weather.

(Beachfront fortress.)

We had dinner last night at The Fish Market and lunch today with the parents of a friend at the Souplantation.  I wish (I wish!  I wish!) they would open up a Souplantation in our area.  They have such a wide variety of veggies to choose from on their salad bar, the soups are always delicious, and the Focaccia breads are freshly baked.

(Bird of Paradise)

This morning we went to Point Loma for a parade.

The parade took place on the Avenida de Portugal.  It was the 7th Annual Festival Das Bandas (Festival of Bands).  14 bands playing Portuguese music marched down the Avenida de Portugal to the United Portuguese Hall where they held a concert.  It was a short parade route.  Only 2 blocks long.

In case you’re wondering, neither of us are Portuguese or know anything about Portuguese music.  We just thought it would be interesting and fun.

We were a little under-dressed for the occasion.  Almost everyone there was dressed as if for church or some other important event (women in dresses and high heels, many of the men in suits or, at the least, dress slacks, shirt and tie).

This is one of my favorite shots from the parade:

See those little guys lying on the platform?  Here’s a close-up:

The one guy in front looks so serious!

M has gone to the conference he’s here to attend.  I went out to the beach for a little while.  I took a book but didn’t do much reading.  I was busy watching the surfers and boogie boarders and just enjoying the sun and surf.

Maybe next time I’ll be able to take those surf lessons.  If not, it might be time to go boogie boarding.

That’s something I’m sure I can do.  It’s only a matter of getting up the nerve to put on a wet suit.  The Pacific Ocean is cold.

Favorite Photo

(Point Reyes, CA. Photo by Robin. 2006)

The last of the photo challenges came from Sock Girl who asked to see my favourite photo. Talk about a tough challenge!!

Almost every photo of friends and loved ones (especially my granddaughter) is a favorite so I thought I’d continue to avoid photos that are peopled with people.

Some of my favorite photos are from our trip to San Francisco and Yosemite. The Yosemite photos have a dark and mysterious look to them due to the weather at the time (snow, rain, and fog). In San Francisco, I marvelled at the colors. The surrounding area reminded me (a lot) of Scotland for some reason. I fell in love with Scotland years ago during our first visit so anything that reminds me of Scotland has got to be good.

One of the places we got to visit on our trip to San Francisco was Point Reyes. What a wild and lovely area! We didn’t get to spend nearly as much time there as I would’ve liked (that was true of the entire trip). The photo above is a small sampling of the many beautiful things we saw during our visit to Point Reyes. It was very difficult to pick just one, but I think this is most representative of the area.

That should wrap up the photo meme challenge for now. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions!