On days when there are no waves…..

 I get out my stand-up paddle board. Yesterday I took a three hour trip up the coast north of Santa Cruz.  It’s an area of cliffs with small pocket beaches.  Above the cliffs are large areas of undeveloped land, state parks and farms.  It’s just outside the Monterey Bay so wild open ocean filled with wildlife.  

There are many seaweed patches spread out like big rugs. I like to paddle from one to the next.  Some are very large so I will stop, sit on my board and observe. I feel safe from sharks when sitting on these big patches of seaweed. Yesterday the fog came in so visibility was 100 feet.  It was a bit unnerving not to see the cliffs but it cast a mystical hue. I judged my distance from shore by the sound of crashing waves and the incoming swell.  

 As I sat in one patch there was a family of sea otters floating not far away. They wrap themselves in seaweed to help stay afloat.  They kept looking at me and I told them they were in my book. They didn’t seem to care and proceeded with their business.

 The ocean water was crystal clear as I paddled to the next patch a few hundred yards away.  The color was an unusual aqua green due to phytoplankton in the unusually warm water.  As I stared down there were thousands of silvery sardines under my board.  The flashing silver was magical as were the dive bombing pelicans having a feast.  

At the next seaweed patch a seal popped up to check me out.  I talked to him and told him the book was out.  He didn’t seem to care but kept popping up in various place to see what I was doing.  

One thing I learned on this paddle, by watching the animals, is that it’s natural and normal to just exist in your environment.  That lesson has made me feel quite comfortable today as I work around my place and catch a nap with the dog.

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