March in Cambria is lovely. There didn’t seem to be a lot of people staying at my hotel – The Fogcatcher Inn. I knew I would like it here when I saw the rolled roofs of all the buildings. I chose well, the place has an English cottage feel to it. My room had vaulted ceilings, a big comfy bed, fireplace, and a view of the ocean. I wouldn’t be able to afford it here during high season, but rates are 50% off in the winter. Take about 100 steps and you can be sitting on a pile of driftwood, splashing through tidepools, or walking along the shore. Yesterday I spent a good part of the day with my books, binoculars, and journal nestled in my own driftwood chair. I could entertain myself for weeks here alone on the sand. Oh, and I was definitely alone. The entire time I was hunkered down there at my station I saw only 2 other people walk by.
To get to my exact spot go directly down the first stairs you see that lead onto the beach. There’s an enormous pile of bleached driftwood directly in front of you. One log in particular is about 10 feet in diameter. I’m not there. No, you have to veer left. Trudge over the chocolate colored sand and there you’ll see another oversized piece of driftwood. This one is very nice and has 2 main branches off the main trunk. Find the lowest curved part to lay your serape across and then rest the pillow you took from the hotel right into that curve. At this point you can either deposit the rest of your stuff and stroll, or lay down, rest, and watch the waves rolling in one after the other. Bird shadows will drift across your legs, then face as all manner of sea birds demonstrate flying maneuvars above you. This is very pleasant. Later you can examine a handful of dark sand. Pick out all of the tiny polished stones and put them in your pocket. Notice how smooth and shiny they are and how each one can just fit on the head of a pin. Have you ever seen such tiny perfect stones? If you’re lucky like me and happen to have Bird Gerhl by Antony & the Johnsons on your IPOD you can play it at maximum volume while you stare out at the wide waters of the Pacific. And if like me you see the dark glossy head of a seal poke his head up out of the water and take a look around, I dare you not to feel very very happy.
The seals in the photos are elephant seals. These are freshly weaned pups whose mamas have left them on the beach in pods to fend for themselves. They are not born knowing how to swim. They teach themselves. Look at their “hands” They have five fingers like us with fingernails! And they like to scratch themselves…a lot. There is a huge colony of them just lounging around about 3 miles north of Cambria. I could spend hours watching them do nothing but sleeping, scratching, grunting, snoring, and calling back and forth to each other.