Late last night I returned home from California, which for my foreign readers, is located in the United States. Anyway, it was a quick weekend trip with my mom, my brother, and Chip, my mother’s boyfriend. We jetted (drove) off to the coast to escape the heat that seems to linger and suffocate the citizens of my home town. The beach was the perfect medicine.
We got there around noon on Friday and grabbed a quick bite at Subway before going to the beach. Now something that you should (but are not required to) know about me is that I love the beach! I love the water, the waves, the sandy between your toes, the random sea life; I’m rambling… One of my favorite things in the entire freaking universe are beach walks. I walk the entire stretch of the beach from one end to the other and back to our spot with my mother. It is great way to relax, get in some exercise (feel the burn!), and enjoy some time together. Seriously, if I lived on the beach for three months I would look like a swimsuit model (maybe). Every girl’s dream, but that wasn’t my train of though which has now be derailed, as usual.
So a relaxing day on the beach and dinner at this amazing Mexican restaurant was all that the first day consisted of. The next day dawned crisp and lovely (it’s California – I think it is always like that…). Mom and Chip decided that they were going to take us on a snorkeling tour in La Jolla, about half an hour from where we were staying. Now, when I pictured snorkeling tour, I figured, “Oh, joy! I get to splash around in thigh-deep water and see absolutely nothing! How fantastical!” Optimistic, right? I thought so. But we arrived at La Jolla Kayak and pulled on our swimsuits – the guides, a few college guys, said the water was warm enough to skip wetsuits if we wanted – along with life jackets and strapped our snorkels, masks, and flippers to us. Long story short, we looked bloody ridiculous.
We marched down the water and I got in a double kayak with my mom. This was already doomed because my mom has no attention span and can’t focus on a rhythm and I have absolutely no coordination whatsoever, like nada. But we kayaked the mile or so out to the spot. It’s a little daunting to not be able to see what is underneath you and say “Oh, why don’t I just blindly jump into the freaking ocean wearing nothing but a swimsuit? Nothing could possible go wrong!” Except, you know, sharks, rays, conch snails, sharp rocks, coral… But I have never really feared the ocean, so I ditched my life jacket and dove in. My mom and the crew were right behind me.
I was entranced. The beauty of the see can sometimes be minimized to pretty waves and soft sand. But it was better than any fairytale dreamland you could possibly dream up. The water was maybe thirty five or forty feet deep and once submerged you could see fish swimming about, the seagrass swaying in the current. It was majestic. I followed fish around for at least and hour before a sea lion just appeared beside me. It was like it freaking Apparated or something. But the playful thing just kept on gliding around near me, so I followed with my mom. It was honestly one of the most amazing things I have ever done.
We then went into a sea cave filled with sea lions who swam around us. I could have reached out and touched them they were so close. My mom’s teeth were chattering, so she took a break and returned to the kayak to sun bathe and warm up for a few minutes. Meanwhile, I returned to the open water. I am good in the water. Swimming comes naturally to me and I was a competitive diver for three years at a local college, which requires good breath holding and swimming skills because the pools are about thirty or more feet deep. When I saw this really cool fish going downward I had this strange urge to stalk him, so I ditched the snorkel, took a deep breath, and dove. I swam after him and I actually swam the entire way down and touched the bottom of the ocean. Not the deepest part – it was only forty feet – but still. There were several things I noticed. first of all, the water is a little clearer at the bottom, but it is also a bit darker because the sunlight doesn’t reach quite as well. Secondly, it was freezing cold. The ocean, near the surface where most of the people were, was around sixty degrees Fahrenheit. The bottom was at maybe thirty eight. The currents are stronger too. But I stayed down there for a moment and stalked the little fish, like your average creeper, before I needed air. Needless to say, it was stunning. It is like another world. I feel like I am writing a narrative and should shut up about this snorkeling excruciation. On the kayaking trip back, I saw maybe 20 leopard sharks, which are harmless but still pretty cool, a few jellyfish, and some sting rays.
The last day, yesterday, I only have one tid bit that was really funny to share with you. We were walking to breakfast at a nearby hotel’s cafe which overlooked the ocean. My brother was pointing something on the building out for me and I, looking up instead of at the ground, may have tripped and fallen down seven or so steps. If I hadn’t had my combat boots on, I would have broken my ankle. Nonetheless, I thought it was comical that I could manage to nearly break a bone before ten in the morning. Not laughing> Just me? Okay.
I hope you guys enjoyed my chronicles of Cali! Let me know what kinds of vacations you have taken this past summer!