Of all the places in the world to leave, Ocean Beach, California may be the hardest for me. Or perhaps it is just that happens to be where I am at in this moment. I am sitting now at a cafe, Jungle Java, within the first block of the beachside that I used to frequent when I needed some reading time while I was in the Navy, and happened to be in port. Inside they have created a wonderful array of welcoming plants, as well as inviting the House Sparrows to flitter about due to the strewn bird seed. Such a place is Great for spending some time out of the water and off of the beach. After my surf session yesterday, which I was still having trouble getting in a rhythm with the ocean swells, I swam away from the cliffs for my life for about three hours, with intermittent time waiting far outside where the swell was breaking. I can’t say whether the large swells that arrived with me are a boon or bane, but I did learn a few things while I was out there watching the experts catch long rides, such as to weight the front of the board when standing up. All my time on the long board never really taught me this, since I had so much buoyancy that it never did really matter where I placed my hands to transition to standing.
When I was stationed here you could walk the the beachside grass parks any day of the week and find yogi’s doing acrobatics and hula hoopers. I was told, by some slack liners that I fell in with, that the yogi’s still appear on Sunday’s and Wednesdays, so today I’m going to see who all is still around.
There is something magical and powerful about the ocean, and that in itself makes it hard for me to want to leave. Last night I watched the sunset turn the clouds a deep red while the ocean waves pounded the unstable cliffside, at times shaking the ground under my seat. The cliffs which undulates in and out of the ocean created these pockets where just the right series of waves would make for one that was cresting as it was about to smash the cliffside; the result being a sort of sonic blast of sound accompanied by a spray of salt and foam thirty or forty feet into the air.
I’ve become kind of a birder, which I would have been embarrassed to say not that long ago, knowing so many quirky and eccentric birders myself. As far as birder go, I am a poor one. I cannot identify every bird that I see to species, nor see immediately that this bird is a juvenile or that bird is in his winter plumage. I appreciate each bird however for the grandeur of it’s very existence among the cliffs and waves. I have seen the Grebe’s floating for rest far from the shore. I also keep seeing deep black Cormorants(pelagic?), but am a little unsure since they are always in flight with their long necks. The terns make wild moves in the air, dropping several feet sometimes, perhaps looking for Clupeiformes, which will be seen occasionally cresting the surface of the water. The pelicans are traveling in groups out in the surf, feathers skimming the water at times as the waves crest. The seagulls will visit, but are best seen when they are sitting still on the cliffs edge, if Muddy doesn’t see them first. This morning as I decided to skip an early surf session, so I watched Willet’s and a Whimbrel who was playing along with them on the sandy shoreline in one of the Highest tides that San Diego has seen in a while, over 7′. I was told by a passer by that it was as close as the moon has been since 1948, about seventy years. Perhaps a Blacks Beach full moon extravaganza is in order?
Perhaps why I love the gypsy life most, is that my life is quite uncomplicated. In fact, yesterday I had to deal with one of the more taxing problems that I have had this week; repairing a hole in my sleeping pad. After several nights of broken sleep, two pad-pumping sessions per night, which developed into a routine, I found the source of the problem. I originally thought it was a leaky valve, and had been making amendments, including teflon tape, o-ring tinkering, and the like. Only after I soaked the pad down with soap and water(which was inconvenient given my surf, beach, and reading schedule) did I actually find the culprit, a small hole. Last night my pad was as firm in the Am as it was when I lay down my head. Other than the trying turmoils of sleeping pad woe’s life goes on free from the typical world nonsense. I make a large dinner at night, and go to sleep with a full belly. In the morning I surf or walk the beachside, working up an appetite to finish what I couldn’t the night before. When my body is tired I sit and read on the beach, or do restorative yoga in the grass. When my eyes are heavy I lay on a towel and let my head fall into wandering, ending in sleep. Muddy plays with all the dogs at Dog Beach, and his endless energy seems to be waning a bit. The socialization aspect of Dog Beach for him is also wonderful. The end of each day creeps up on me unexpectedly, and I resolve that I need to head to joshua tree soon, as the month is flying by, but can’t find the mental gumption to do so.