One might have thought that there was an international surfing contest at Ocean Beach to explain all the people lined up in the chill (for Southern California) morning along the pier. But no one was allowed out in the water at all…. Well… with one example appropriate for Californians but more on that in a moment. It wasn’t surfING that brought them out although the surf was involved.
It was 7:30-ish when I got there. For the first time in what seemed like weeks the sky was clear and the morning sun was just cresting the ridge of Point Loma with shafts of the golden dawn light coming through the trees and buildings to pick out details of the scene. The onshore wind filled the air with a slight stinging of cold salt spray. This was pretty enough but not a condition that would usually bring out all these people plus two TV station trucks! But here they were, eyes and several gazillion cameras aimed out toward the pier. What on earth was going on?
It turns out that though you could not yet see it, this weekend has scheduled a special lunar event. The moon will be full, it will be a perigee as its orbit brings it nearest to the earth (so it will appear bigger and exert more tidal pull), and on Sunday night will be a full lunar eclipse. Combined with several major storms that have come up from the south west and drenched us with some much-needed rain (at the cost of oversaturating the ground and creating issues of major runoff and mud slides, this morning’s high tide was anticipated to produce something locals call a “King Tide.” And few places reveal tide height better than the Ocean Beach Pier.
So the breakwater was already lined with people and TV crews when I got there.
The incoming waves were washing the underside of the pier with some spray raining down on it so it was closed. Too bad, there is a great breakfast café out on the pier and you’d have a great view of the action.
The truth is I’ve seen bigger waves, some that washed completely over the pier. But those are really rare and even so, this level of wave activity is not common. Part of the issue is not just the height of them but given the angle and the wind-driven energy, the ferocity of the wave action was immense as it broke on the rocks close to shore.
But, well, this IS California after all. And it was not just the waves that had people’s attention. Apparently the wave action washed up a really unusual bit of flotsam from the sea. For you landlubbers who think that the Mer-folk only contain beautiful women or men that look like Jason Momoa, there, stranded on the beach for all to see, brought up from its watery home, I assume, by the violent wave action, was a more realistic example of marine mer-male pulchritude. Eat your heart out Aquaman,,,
Some things are hard to unsee… However, seeing him brought to mind a question I’ve had since my youth and learning about the ancient seafarers lusting after the, to them, beautiful mermaids that turned out to be dugongs, manatees, and the like. Have you ever seen a manatee? If the sailers thought they were beautiful women to lust after, what does that say about the ladies they left behind back in their homes?
ADDENDUM: As I hoped my scientist friend Doctor Jeff came through and identified the species of the creature above as the almost never seen “Phytomacronutrientcaudal Californiensis”
So for those of you scoffers who thought I was making this up, science has once again come to the rescue. However another theory has been put forth that this is the Karmic-fated reincarnation of the infamous Edward Teach, commander of the armed sloop “Queen Anne’s Revenge” and better known perhaps by his nomme du guerre, Blackbeard the Pirate.
ADDENDUM 2: I wasn’t there to see it but apparently on Sunday the waves not only washed over the pier they did some major damage to it.