Monday, April 16, 2007

Ocean, Ocean, Ocean

Mendocino Coast, Mendocino County

One of the things I really, really, really miss about California is the ocean. The sound of the waves crashing on the shore, the wind blowing through my hair, the feel of sand between my toes, the sunsets, tide pooling... There's something healing and rejuvenating about the ocean. It's the one place I've found that is consistently capable of clearing the cobwebs out of my mind and restoring a sense of calm and serenity such that I can make it for days and weeks without overly stressing or feeling overwhelmed.

When I lived in the Golden State, I lived about an hour from the beach--depending on which beach I'd choose and what time of day or day of the week I'd go. Some of my favorite beaches in California are Stinson, Limontour, Glass, Pismo, Morro Rock, San Gregorio, Patrick's Point, Trinidad, and Bean Hollow.

Stinson is the beach my dad always use to take us to when we were little kids and we'd go to visit his parents. We only went three or four times when I was a kid, but it was enough to get the ocean under my skin. Limantour is a lovely stretch of beach in Peyes Reyes National Seashore that is reminiscent of Dover, England.

I can't remember the name of this specific beach,
but it's just around the bend from Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, Mendocino County

If you like seaglass, Glass Beach is your best bet. It's in the old logging town of Fort Bragg, about four hours north of San Francisco and just above the picturesque town of Mendocino. You can cull glass off the shore of what was once the city dump. Believe it or not, there was a less enlightened time when municipalities would actually drive their trash trucks to the edge of the ocean and just dump the garbage!

Morro Bay with Morro Rock in the background, San Luis Obispo County

Pismo Beach is down on the central coast near San Luis Obispo, about three hours north of Santa Barbara. Morro Rock, just north of Pismo and right outside SLO, is a lovely outcropping that is stunning. The only blight on Morro is PG&E built a power station right in front of it, so it's impossible to take an unobstructed photo of it from the east looking west. Still, it's a pretty cool spot!

Bean Hollow, just below Pescadero, San Mateo County

San Gregorio and Bean Hollow are both just below Half Moon Bay. Patrick's Point and Trinidad are up in Humboldt County in what is truly northern California. In addition to the spectacular beaches, you can see some pretty stunning redwoods.

Trinidad State Beach, Trinidad, Humboldt County

All that to say, the beach and the ocean are it for me. It's one of the things about living in D.C. that has been hard, because getting to any beach around these parts isn't a cake walk, it's a death march. And the beaches on the East Coast--at least the ones I been to between Delaware and Florida--are only worth visiting in the off-season. During the season, they're nothing but wall-to-wall bodies of folks who obviously don't give a flip about the health and welfare of their epidermal layers. There's nothing quite as unattractive as 70 year-old men and women in leather skin, thongs and/or Speedos, walking up and down the beach. There's not much that's attractive about 20 or 30 somethings in similar scanty attire either, for that matter. Ick! Just ick.

Serenisea, not far from the Gualala River, Mendocino County

A beach is a beach, I suppose, and I shouldn't complain too much. Still, I try not to go in the summer. Case in point, I was just in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, this weekend and, despite the inclement weather, managed to get in a couple of hours on the sand, hunting for agates and seashells. I stupidly forgot my sunscreen and managed to get a little sunburn on my face. Dumb, dumb, dumb. But, I had a grand and glorious time! The cobwebs have been dusted out of my brain and I'm good to go for a few weeks. What I'll do after that, who knows?

Meanwhile, here's a postcard from Rehoboth. It's a picture of a coastal defense tower from World War II.

And here's someone's YouTube video with the sights and sounds of the ocean on some beach in Hawaii.

Photo copyrights: Janet Kincaid, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006

Video: Courtesy of YouTube


Sister Mary Lisa said...

Holy shit, woman, those photos are all YOURS? I want to paint at least all of them!!! Wow.

Love this post. I wish I lived closer to the ocean, because it has that same effect on me as you describe so well here.

JMK said...

SML: Yep. Took 'em all. I have others on traditional film that I need to transfer to CD/DVD and then onto my computer.

I miss the ocean...

ME said...

Gorgeous pictures, J. Makes me all nostalgic for our shelling expeditions and U-pick ollalieberies.

I've been to South Padre Island a couple of times now. Decent seashells--better if you don't mind getting wet--but FLAT. Not much in the way of scenery.

Of course, don't let that stop you from visiting sometime next February.