Ocean knight currents, part two

Stairways lead down to South Carlsbad State Beach, one of San Diego’s top beaches, where people enjoy swimming, surfing, sunbathing, walking, running, fishing, bird watching and listening to the sounds of the surf.*

DSC_0329 Stairway to the beach

Bluff and beach erosion continue to be ongoing issues.  The City of Carlsbad and the State of California work together with local agencies to replenish sand washed away by winter storms.*  While walking on the sand, I was surprised to step on one of the tar balls recently reported to be washing up on Carlsbad beaches, which may be naturally seeping from the ocean floor.

DSC_0322 Walking the shoreline

Abundant wildlife is seen along the beach, such as this Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus, a migratory bird species that breeds in subarctic North America and travels down the coast on the Pacific Flyway* to winter as far south as the tip of South America.

DSC_0276 Whimbrel

Seen below, the Marbled Godwit, Limosa fedoa, one of the dominant shorebirds along San Diego’s coast, has a long bill enabling them to probe deeply in the sand for aquatic insects and mollusks.

DSC_0300 Marbled Godwit

DSC_0304 Marbled Godwit foraging

We also enjoyed eating mollusks, such as the New Zealand Littleneck Clams that Larry steamed with butter, garlic, and wine and served over Shandong noodles.  The shells were saved for table decoration.

DSC_0209 New Zealand Littleneck Clams

One morning, I was looking down from the bluff and spotted a little boy picking up objects from the beach and throwing them into the sea.

DSC_0042 A boy picked up & threw something

I imagined the objects to be starfish that he was saving by tossing them back in the water, but they turned out to be flat stones and his father was showing him how to throw them to make them skip across the surface.  Still, this iconic image caused me to revisit the thought provoking and motivational “The Boy and the Starfish“* story, inspired by Loren Eiseley, which illustrates that individual actions can make a significant difference.

DSC_0043 Perhaps a star thrower

This knight-errant is currently happy as a clam at high tide regarding the good news this week that San Diego Opera will not close, due to the overwhelming support from the community and donors, and like the boy in the starfish story, every gift is significant and you can make a difference!*

*This is a YouTube video.

Ocean knight currents, part one

Temperatures soared into the high nineties in San Diego as we prepared for a 5-day sally to the ocean bluffs of South Carlsbad where we looked forward to cooling ocean and air currents.  Waving giant arms greeted us as we approached our destination, which, upon closer inspection, turned out to be the sails of a windmill, so I set aside my lance and reminisced about the poignant last San Diego Opera where the knight-errant, Don Quixote, battled giants that turned out to be windmills, even as the San Diego Opera was fighting for its existence.  The title role was sung by the great Italian bass, Ferruccio Furlanetto, who has a special message* for those concerned about the San Diego Opera.

DSC_0129 Windmill by the sea

We arrived on the eve of Cinco de Mayo* and promptly celebrated with fresh homemade salsa, chips and Margaritas (a perfect summer drink)*, while savoring the continuous sounds of the surf and a beautiful sunset.

DSC_0001 Cinco de Mayo by the sea

An onshore low-pressure system moved in for most of the week and brought cooler temperatures and gusty winds.  This was a refreshing change from the heat of the previous week, and little did we know that this would turn out to be just a brief respite as hot, dry Santa Ana winds would return the following week and bring record breaking temperatures, fires and loss of homes in San Diego County* usually not seen this early in California’s fire season.

DSC_0064 Our favorite beach campsite

Larry’s decorations for our favorite beachside campsite included papel picado banners near the dense, windswept shrubs that provide wonderful privacy.

DSC_0079 Windswept by the sea

For five days we relaxed to the sound of ocean waves and wind* as we enjoyed the sight of pelicans sailing by in various formations sustained by the updraft of the bluff air currents.

DSC_0082 Relaxing by the sea

Camping by the sea always whets our appetite for seafood.  We moved our outdoor kitchen to the north side of our campsite where vegetation provided a windbreak, facilitating the frying of calamari.  To prepare these “onion rings of the sea“*, Larry cut 1/2 inch rings from squid hoods and shook them in a plastic bag containing flour, corn meal, corn starch, and seasonings, and deep fried a few at a time for 2-3 minutes, just until golden brown.

DSC_0096 Frying calamari by the sea

Dinners were followed by sipping wine and enjoying beautiful ocean sunsets.

DSC_0108 Pelicans at sunset

This trip marks our 8th camping season with our Airstream Safari as we continue to enjoy living the Airstream life!*

DSC_0262 Living the Airstream Life!

Continue to follow the adventures of this knight-errant by the sea in upcoming posts… Cheers!

*This is a YouTube video.

Ocean safari fiesta, part two

Our fiesta by the sea had begun on Cinco de Mayo and continued as Larry featured Mexican cuisine, such as his savory Caldo de Mariscos, which contained squid, shrimp, and scallops cooked in an enameled cast iron Japanese pot that provided even heat, as well as heat retention.

DSC_0008 Larry's Caldo de Mariscos

Near our Airstream Safari is a stairway to the beach below, which is one way of going “down the shore“, as we would say in New Jersey.

DSC_0047 Stairway to the beach

I descended these stairs in the late afternoon to get a closer look at those beautiful crashing waves* that we continuously heard during our stay here.

DSC_0052 Ocean waves crashing

As I listened to the ocean, it seemed to talk to me.  I was lulled into a meditative and contemplative state.  I thought about its beauty… its vastness.  Then I remembered disturbing images that I saw on this beach three years ago.  At that time, I saw litter and signs of pollution and was hearing news and seeing the images of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico*.  Since then, I have learned that people are working together to create a healthier ocean and track progress towards that goal by calculating and issuing an annual Ocean Health Index Score* in 133 countries.  Listen to renowned oceanographer, Greg Stone*,  discuss the importance of creating an Ocean Health Index and see how your country scored on the Ocean Health Index Score!  See the recent BBC video, “Antarctica: Engine of ocean life“, which illustrates why the seas around Antarctica play an important role in the wealth of life found throughout the world’s oceans.

As I ascended the stairs, I continued to contemplate how people working together could overcome obstacles and achieve a better world.

DSC_0057 Stairway up the bluff

I also thought about the life that this bluff supports.  California ground squirrels thrive here and burrow into the bluff to make homes.

DSC_0046 California ground squirrel

They are also quick in finding any food left unattended by campers!

DSC_0038 Squirrel hunts for food

This “San Diego on the ocean side” environment also supports Brown Pelicans that are often seen flying together (which has benefits*) as they soar along the bluff.  Brown Pelicans almost became extinct in the 1970s due to the pesticide DDT, but environmental protections since then have resulted in their comeback and removal from the federal endangered species list in 2010.  Increased numbers have also meant increased odoriferous excrement that is having an impact on upscale seaside tourist spots such as La Jolla, California.   

DSC_0111 Pelican teamwork

Whether our world’s oceans will have a bright or dark future depends on all of us working together for a better tomorrow.

DSC_0086 Ocean sunset

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

Ocean safari fiesta, part one

We secured the feral side of our San Diego backyard and towed our Airstream Safari to our favorite campsite on the bluffs of South Carlsbad State Beach on Cinco de Mayo* for five days of sun, surf, sea breezes, soaring birds, feasting and celebrating San Diego on the ocean side.

DSC_0053 South Carlsbad sand & surf

Sea breezes blew up and over the bluff fifty feet above the beach where our Safari rested just a few feet from the edge.

DSC_0095 Our beachside campsite

The sea breeze has sculptured the thick hedges on each side of us, which provide wonderful privacy, enhanced with Larry’s sunscreen that he began making last year.  Homegrown Bird of Paradise flowers on our table gently moved in the breeze, as if looking at the pelicans gliding by.  We have seen as many as 35 pelicans soaring* by single file in long lines or in V-formation.*

DSC_0018 Soaring pelicans

Cinco de Mayo* is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.  We invited our dear friend Beverly to join us for a lunch fiesta featuring Mexican cuisine, starting with a strawberry margarita.*

DSC_0069 Beverly & Larry chatting

Larry prepared Camarones de Gobernador in a pot on our Volcano Stove, which contained camarones* (Larry used large shrimp), red peppers, poblano peppers, onions, garlic and rice wine.

DSC_0079 Camarones de gobernador

This mixture was then placed into grilled corn tortillas and became delicious tacos.  Here is another variation of Tacos de Camarón Gobernador.*

DSC_0081 Lunch with Beverly

The festive day was capped off by sipping on margaritas in glasses rimmed with Tajín seasoning.  “The margarita is the number one consumed cocktail in the United States,” says Greg Cohen in “Cinco de Mayo Is Hot“.*

DSC_0027 Margarita cheers - Larry

Many now consider Cinco de Mayo as the kickoff of the summer season*… and I’ll drink to that!

DSC_0033 Margarita cheers - Bill

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

Summer of ’12

Summer began by my thoroughly rinsing off all of the salt deposits that accumulated on the trailer during our beachside outing last May.  An important part of this annual process is to fully extended our three awnings and wash off the accumulation of salt and dirt.  The details of our trailer awning care are seen in my post, “Trailer Awnings“.  I am always amazed at the amount of dirt that accumulates along the very top edge of canvas where it attaches to the trailer (and can’t be seen or washed away until the awning is fully extended).

Diesel prices rose to $4.599/gallon this summer and the cost to fill up the F-250 tank was an even $100 here in San Diego, but the upside of living here is that we don’t have to go far to enjoy the great outdoors, even our backyard is a tropical oasis.

Summer projects included Larry’s application of finishing touches to our trailer sun shade screen seen in my last post, “Drift and the land yacht“, and in my research into replacing our six-year-old trailer tires.

San Diego’s Old Town is a great place to work and play.  Larry and I put on our Victorian era attire and went to Old Town State Historic Park where Nick & Dave were photographing anybody for free as long as they were wearing vintage clothing.  Nick & Dave do tintype photography using the wet plate collodion process.

(Photo credit: Joe O’Dell)

They took our photos, showed them to us and, after they applied the finishing application of clear lacquer, we returned in two weeks to pick them up.

Nick & Dave’s assistant photographer Joe O’Dell took pictures of us with his Nikon camera and used Photoshop to make the image below showing us with the backdrop of Bodie, a ghost town in California.

Our Renaissance faire friend, Jim M., died in late summer, reminding us that life is fragile and brief and of the importance of cherishing and sharing each day with our loved ones, from season to season.  Summer is now over, the leaves are beginning to fall, the air is cooler… but love endures, along with our memories of the summer of ’12.