Yesterday, with a friend, I walked along the beautiful the Central Coast bluffs. A magnificent display of wildflowers spreading color up against the cerulean blue sea was breathtaking. My friend shared her story about a recent whale watch trip. “It was great. We saw seven gray whales. But there was a baby whale that was alone and swimming south instead of north. That bothered us.”
Jalama Beach also offers a look into California history. The Jalama Creek estuary, as noted by one of the signs posted, was once a Chumash Village. Both grandchildren actually found that interesting, especially when they learned that the chert we found on the beach was collected by the Chumash and fashioned into arrowheads and blades. That led to a hunt for what my grandson thought would make a perfect carving stone. He found one, but decided to leave it on the beach.
At a time when our 24 hour news cycle broadcasts little joy, the enthusiasm of the volunteers who came to do nothing but pick up other people’s trash and garbage, shed a certain kind of light to blot out all the negative headlines of the day. At our locale, most volunteers were locals— some partnered with a friend or family, and some represented local groups. Visitors from Livermore and San Jose, (both cities about 200 miles north of San Simeon) also joined in the effort to keep our wastes from slipping into the Pacific Ocean.
And our planet’s modifier is in trouble. It’s a Neptune 911 crisis. What can we do to combat our ocean’s struggle with marine debris, hypoxia and acidification? The answers are found in university labs, recognized in world organizations, and ignored by feckless politicians and leaders.
my mission on Monday was to find Christmas gifts for a local Toys for Tots campaign— and gifts that do not include plastics. This immediately eliminated the ever popular Lego products, most dolls, many craft kits, action figures and sports items.
The first California coast cleanup began in the mid-1970s, when an Arcata recycler operated beach cleanups in search of recyclables. Oregon, however, was the first state to organize a state-wide volunteer beach cleanup in 1984, called the “Plague of Plastics.”
A lost mermaid would be drawn to the bright ocean-themed mural that covers the front of the Coastal Discovery Center — a hotbed of seaside activity in a cool little corner of San Luis Obispo County.
The Coastal Discovery Center is a local treasure for learning more about Central California’s coastline and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), which operates the Center in partnership with California State Parks.
Both Cruz and I savored this holy show, yet we each harbored a sadness knowing full well, that our seas are not healthy. It brought us to a conversation about our mutual experiences with faith, religious devotion, and honoring our earth.
Six to eight-foot waves show-off the water’s relentless power. The agitation pushes foam just out of reach from my toes in the wet sand. An unexpected rogue wave is likely, so I keep my photo gear ready should I have to make a fast departure from my station.