Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Most Excellent Coolest Thing EVAH

OK, SO! This last weekend, the husband and I went down to Laguna Beach while my parents watched the Denizens. My mother-in-law, see, had gotten tickets for us and four of the sibs-in-law for the Pageant of the Masters down there.

It was very cool. But it wasn’t the most excellent coolest thing EVAH.

The next day, we puttered down the Pacific Coast Highway looking for someplace that wasn’t crazy swarming with people.

I don’t know why we thought we’d find such a place. But eventually, we ended up at Mission Bay in San Diego. Which was still with the crazy and the swarming of people, but we found a parking space and furthermore, you know, next stop Mexico!, so we figured we’d better just, you know, stop.

Now, let me remind y’all that I am from Northern California. In my mind, beaches are on the cold side, usually more rocks than sand and loaded with sharp shells, broken glass and other flotsam and jetsam, and did I mention the cold part? You dip your toes in the water, you might just lose a couple of them to frostbite.

I know soft, sandy beaches with warm, inviting water exist. I’ve been to Hawaii, twice, and greatly enjoyed being able to just frolic right on out into the water, la la la, and start swimming.

But in my home state, I associate “swimming in the ocean” with wetsuits, or a verrrrrrrry long adjustment period before you get waist-high and decide that discretion is the better part of valor.

So when we took off our shoes and started walking through the sand, I was already tripping out because it was so soft and warm. It was like walking on hugs.

And then we swerved down to where the waves were rippling over the sand and when they hit my feet I jumped twenty feet straight up in the air and came down screaming because ohmygah, the water was so warm!

Thoroughly freaked out by this most un-California like behavior from a beach, it took me a good long while to be talked into going swimming. Almost thirty seconds, in fact.

So I’m out there body surfing and having a grand old time with some pretty intense waves, yippee! Ha ha! I taunt you, Death By Drowning!, it’s only been twenty{mumble} years since last I went body surfing!...when something very large and gray suddenly shot out of the next wave over, arced in a graceful half-moon over the water, splashed down, curled around itself, and popped its head out of the water about ten feet away from me and grinned at me.

I swallowed about fifty gallons of salt water, squealed like a girl and backpedaled like an idiot.

It’s funny how your brain reacts to something like that – it was like a series of clicks.

Close! Large! Close! Fish! Close! Teeth! CLOSE!!!! TEEEEEEEETH!!!!!


If I’d been a little braver (did I mention the teeth?), I probably could have swum to them in a few strokes. There were three of them, and they wanted to play; I was pretty slow and boring, so they moved on before I could work up the courage to approach them.

They circled the surfers (who were a few swells further out from me) like puppies. One of them reached over to stroke them as they went by – the first dolphin flinched away, the second nuzzled closer and turned its belly up for a rub.

Then another surfer took off, and all three of them shot after him. They danced around his board (which must have been damned distracting), weaving through the waves. Two of them liked to lace their jumps over each other; the third was a big clown, always flipping upside down to make a big splash when he hit the water.

When the surfer inevitably went down they kept on going, leaping further and further away from the shore as they went.

We all stood there, dumbstruck, and watched them go.

It was one of those big-time WOW moments. They are some seriously beautiful animals, and to see them that up-close was…not something I ever thought I’d experience.

Not without shelling out loads of cash, anyway.

Life is funny that way, you know? You can spend thousands of dollars for a Perfect Vacation that leaves you with nothing but a pile of bills – or be on a Hotwire-hotel-and-hot-dog-dinner kind of vacation and be handed something like that.

What a world we live in, huh?

What an awesome, awesome world!


Steph B said...

Wow. Just wow. So amazing...I can't even picture that. Lucky, lucky you.

Stephanie said...

That is so very cool! And you didn't even have to shell out big bucks for a "Dolphin Encounter."

Trina said...

I can't believe you wandered that close to Comic-Con! San Diego was crazytown last weekend.

knitinsage said...

you didn't know that southern california dolphins keep surfers as pets? ;-)

sounds amazing

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the dolphin stampede video on youtube? awesome

ccr in MA said...

Totally wow! How cool.

Anonymous said...

After all this year has brought, you deserved a treat like that! Hold that thought for cloudy days, eh?

Joan said...

I'm so glad it happened to you, and thank you for writing so beautifully about it. Reading you was the next best thing to being there.

Kris said...

How utterly cool Tama. I can't imagine how stunning it must have been!

Science PhD Mom said...

That is so cool!!! I am jealous. The SoCal beaches are great for warm water. I find it hard to top the Florida Keys or Hawaii for a totally awesome beach swim. You, however, are much closer to a warm water beach than I! Glad you got such a great present while you were there!