Being in this part of California we expect cool, foggy, damp weather most mornings and evenings. This year it was cool as usual but the fog was minimal. And what perfect weather during the day!
Click to make the pictures bigger. Much more fun that way.
Setting up the tent
Stef called in the afternoon and wondered where we were. Camping, of course, and getting ready to cook foil dinners. "Wow! Just wait for Brady and me to throw some dinners together and we'll be over to eat with you." It was an unexpected treat to have them drop in. We had a good time with them that evening.
Checking out the beach the next morning, there was a lone fisherman in the surf. Seagulls on the move. What is the cue to make them all start flying at the same time? "I cannot say at this time."
I was waking up from a short nap in the tent one afternoon, fascinated by the view of the blue sky and trees framed by the tent door. Julie came walking up to see if I was awake yet. I just had to snap this picture. Very cool view.
The beach is about 6 miles from Watsonville, an area known for its hundreds of strawberry fields. Just simply beautiful to look out over these well kept farms.
And lots of beautiful flora out here among the sand dunes.
Another fisherman making a great cast
Julie, the beachcomber
The high tide had washed some very fragile (and small) shells up on the beach. Compare the sizes of these to the footprint. Some detailed images here...
A sand dollar. I love the symmetry on the top. Here is some good reading for grandson Ryan:
Sand dollars have a rigid skeleton known as a "test." The test is calcium carbonate plates arranged in a radial pattern. In living sand dollars, the test is covered by a skin of velvet-textured spines; these spines are covered with very small hairs (cilia). Coordinated movements of the spines enable sand dollars to move across the seabed. The petal-like pattern in sand dollars consists of five paired rows of "pores." The pores are perforations in the endoskeleton through which podia for gas exchange project from the body. The mouth of the sand dollar is located on the bottom of its body at the center of the petal-like pattern.
This is actually a section of the inside of the bottom of a sand dollar. It looks like it has some very intricate carvings, much like a carved piece of ivory. There is actually a living organism in the shell that make this. Incredible!
This is the top of a small crab shell. The bottom part was missing. Check out the random pattern of red spots. This was maybe 3 inches across.
This is the underside of a male crab (don't ask me know I know). It was about the same size as the one in the picture above
Don't know what kind of shell this is but we loved the colors and the patterns.
Ray Anderson came on Wednesday and joined us for dinner. He had a foil dinner and we had BBQ'd salmon. No we didn't catch it.
Thursday morning we went to a relatively new museum in Santa Cruz (opened just two months ago). Long name: Monterey Bay National Maritime Sanctuary Exploration Center. No living animals but some cool hands-on displays and videos about sea life in Monterey Bay. The best part was it is FREE.
Later that day in Monterey: sea otters have so much fun
This deer was right outside the Asilomar conference grounds in a residential neighborhood
Along Ocean View Drive in Pacific Grove: a Pelican
and a Cormorant
Surprise visitor: As we were getting to closer Monterey... we were wondering why all those people with binoculars were standing around looking out at the open sea... maybe whale watching, etc., all of a sudden flying in over the ocean was the space shuttle "Endeavor" flying over Monterey at about 1500 feet. Spectacular! It was making the rounds through several California cities piggie-backed on a 747 before going to it's final resting place at the California Science Museum in Los Angeles. Wow! Cheers went up from all over. What a historic moment and we just happened to be there to witness it!
Saturday morning was our traditional group breakfast with a lot of our ward friends. Pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, juice. That's our young bishop (Brady Birt) and his wife (Amy) in the back cooking eggs. About 25 people in all. It was so much fun.