If it hadn’t been rainy and chilly, I’m sure the Santa Cruz Wharf in California would have been teeming with people. Since it was practically deserted, we got great views of the beach, amusement park, and Monterey Bay. Hannah heard barking and guess what, hon? Sea lions were resting under the wharf. Cool!
Extending a half mile into the Monterey Bay, situated between the colorful Santa Cruz Boardwalk and the surfer-filled waves of Steamer Lane, the Santa Cruz Wharf offers some of most thrilling views along the California coast. At 2,745 feet, it’s the longest wooden pier in the United States, resting on over 4,400 Douglas-fir pilings. Built in 1914, the timber centenarian continues to offer a timeless Santa Cruz experience. Stroll its wooden walkways-ideally with a cup of clam chowder in hand-and discover fresh-seafood eateries, local gift shops, nature and history displays, fun seasonal events, and of course, those famous barking sea lions.
2020 is brand new and I already need sorbet for my mind. The onslaught of bad news domestically and internationally leaves me searching for peacefulness. I came across “The Sea To Me – The Lewis Sisters,” a short video on Vimeo with lovely images and music, which speaks to my love of the beach and ocean.
I hope it gives you a moment’s peace, too.
Happy watching, hon.
Vimeo’s description of the video:
Three sisters, born and raised in Cornwall, Lottie, Monica and Bryony each enjoy their own connection with the water; writing about it, surfing on it, and swimming beneath it. They have travelled far and wide to feed their deep personal relationships with the sea and together, they continue push each other to take on ever greater challenges.
Rating of this post: somewhere between PG-13 and R, depending on which country you live in, what year you were born, if you are a direct descendant of Puritans, your Zodiac sign and personality traits.
Warning: If discussing the body makes you uncomfortable, you can find recipes under the category “Call Me Cook.”
Back story: In 1988, after graduating from college, a girlfriend (shout out to Ilene) and I backpacked across Europe. We wound our way to Nice in the south of France where we planned to sunbathe and relax. For the entire backpacking trip, we asked each other one question: “Should we or should we not go topless in Nice?” We spent much emotional energy discussing this topic.
You know the whole “When in Rome” argument? Well, a lot of French women don’t wear bathing suit tops and we wanted to be like them. Then again, our modesty combined with skin that had never seen the light of day weighed heavily on our minds. But, we were on an adventure (Writer friends, can you name which one of my characters is on an adventure? But, I digress.) and were young.
Scenario: Walking to the beach, we stopped at shops to browse.
Me: “Look at the baskets of bikinis!”
Friend: “There are only bottoms! That’s it. Let’s do it.”
Me: “Okay, but we’re wearing whole pieces.”
Friend: “Once we lay down, we’ll roll them down. At the same time! Anyway who are we going to see?”
Me: “You’re right. Who are we going to see?”
I interrupt this story to tell you that we had met up with some other students (pictured above) backpacking in Europe. The girls were having the same dilemma as us and we weren’t interested in the boys “like that.”
After we set up our beach towels…
Friend: “Tell me when you’re ready.”
Me: “One the count of three: one, two, three!” (Much giggling ensued!)
After awhile we got used to the exposure (pun intended) and sat up. Then from a bunch of beach blankets away…
Peter (former football player and biggest jock in my high school): “Naomi, is that you? Hi!”
I lookeded in his direction and half-waved, half-covered my now burnt-to-a-crisp upper body (applying sunscreen would have been doubly mortifying so, alas, we didn’t). I realized not only was Peter sitting a few blankets away, so were some other boys from Baltimore!
Two thoughts went through my mind:
1) “What are the chances boys from Baltimore are sitting on the same beach I am at the same time I decide to roll down my top?!?
2) The biggest jock from my high school, who I was never friends with, never had classes with and who I hadn’t seen since high school graduation, knew my name? Wow!
Friend: “You know him?”
Me: “I can’t believe it!!”
Peter: Waving and pointing me out to friends.
Me: “Cover me!”
Friend: Blocked view of me while I quickly rolled up my top.
Me: I stayed on my towel and waved back, but I did’t go over and say hi!
Friend and I decided it was best to be occupied. We ran to the water, grabbed a paddleboat and stayed out in the water for a long time.
That was the beginning and end of my “When in Rome” adventure!
Two more things happened after that:
1) Peter gave me a big hug when we ran into him in Monaco the next night. (OMG!)
2) My friend and I were in pain for a week.
Moral of the story: Don’t roll down your top if you’re too embarrassed to apply sunblock!
Do you have any embarrassing moments you’d like to share?
Top Five Reasons Why Myrtle Beach Is Different Than The Jersey Shore:
1. You don’t have to buy a beach badge to get on the beach.
2. A forest comes almost up to the ocean.
3. Seagulls don’t give you the hairy eyeball vying for your snacks.
4. Everyone says “hi” when you stroll on the beach.
5. There are no signs illustrating what to do if you get caught in a riptide.
My youngest daughter and I found beautiful seashells
the Canonball Jellyfish are so cool! They don’t have tentacles and are considered harmless to humans (although I found differing views on the internet). I wasn’t sure if the one I found beached on the sand was alive, but something fluttered inside when I touched it. Guess what I did? Picked it up and put it back in the ocean, of course. Hon, hope it made it back to the deep sea.
In early September 2010, on a family trip to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Hurricane Earl blew in. I dubbed Earl “The Equalizer” because the spirit on the beach and in the town before and after the hurricane was one of camaraderie.
Before the storm hit, shops taped and boarded windows but stayed open for business. Hon, the undertow was so strong that if you stood in the ocean-carved channels on the beach, you’d be knocked right off your feet. So, what did everyone do? Stand in the channels, of course. Then laugh like crazy and help each other up as the water swirled and pulled. As wind picked up the night before the storm hit, news crew showed up, but vacationers still strolled the boardwalk eating home-made ice cream and Thrasher’s french fries (dipped in vinegar, of course).
At nine am on the morning of the storm, you would have thought there was a party on the beach. Hundreds of people came out to watch the ocean. The sand stung your face and the wind whipped your hair, but everyone was friendly and talkative. Lifeguards, off-duty for the day, surfed. Luckily, Earl blew on by, the worst traveling out to sea. The day after the storm, the only evidence that “Earl The Equalizer” had touched down was the still churning channels of water, the strong undertow and the atmosphere of awe.
At summer’s end this year, Mother Nature was quiet on Long Beach Island. Stormy or quiet, the ocean has so much to say.
The expressive sand allows us to be ourselves. The scent of the salty air delivers childhood memories to the present. The radiant sun warms our souls. The infinite, blue sky absorbs our thoughts. The expansive ocean invites us to cool down. The insistent waves urge us to stand strong and the powerful sound of the surf helps us to clear our minds. My beach darling and I meditate at edge of the Atlantic.