The moon was full.
It rose over the water and settled determinedly in front of the beach house like a glowing reminder.
(Stinson Beach, Northern California. July 3rd, 2012.
All photos by LBG.)
Not that we needed one.
Our alarms were already set for 5:15 am.
(Why? Excellent question.)
Early the next morning we were going on a very special expedition, one that could only be done a handful of times a year. Thanks to a rare "minus tide" (one significantly lower than average), for an hour or so we would be able to explore caves, rock formations and miles of coastline usually hidden beneath the watery deep. Our friends who had done it before gave us an explicit directive.
"Wear clothes that can get wet."
* * * * *
We were on the beach by 5:45 am. The sun was still behind the mountains but the ocean suffused the sky with an otherworldly shade of blue.
(Can you tell how freezing it was from this picture? Mark Twain got it right when he said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.")
Things looked deceptively ordinary. From far away we thought this was just a big rock.
Oh how wrong we were. Up close we discovered a magical neighborhood filled with a variety of life aquatic.
This little guy was even waiting with a friendly salute.
(Did you know starfish were so plump and robust? I didn't.)
And who knew sea anemones looked exactly like those drink coasters made from geodes?
There were a few tricky spots that required trust and a willingness to wade.
What goes out must come back in. The water was rising. It was time to turn back.
A strange Yeti-like creature emerged from behind the rocks, crossed in front of us and disappeared into the ocean.
(Undoctored photos of San Franciscus Hippius Nudicus.)
After that, everything paled in comparison.