US2 – The west coast has the sunshine…

… and the girls all get so tanned, according to the Beach Boys (California Girls). That’s true, at best, in the afternoons here, I thought, looking out over the ocean at Aptos. (You can’t call the Pacific the sea, I find.) For the next five days the weather forecast in the Santa Cruz Sentinel is “Areas of low clouds, then sun”; “Areas of low clouds, then sun; cool” or “Areas of low clouds, then sun; nice”.

One morning first thing I took the sprog out for a cycle ride. An hour after I got back his mother could still notice the chill on his skin. At some point he threw away a shoe. We went out again to look for it. Coming back fruitless the sprog shouted SHOE. I did a U’ie and there it was, set kindly on a post.

Luke's lost shoe spotted by Luke Aptos 818.JPG

There are hundreds of pelicans. They live on the pier – there’s a part from which pedestrians are fenced off – and the concrete boat beyond.

pelicans pier concrete boat Aptos 818 2.JPG

When they fly along they look like Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers.

pelican Aptos 818 102.JPG


When they dive for a fish they look like dive bombers, though.

pelican Aptos 818 105.JPG

(Honestly, they do. This nature photography business isn’t easy, you know. I’ve tried to get a picture of one actually diving towards or into the sea but they only do it when I put the camera away.)

When they come back to the surface they sit on the water and gulp.

sooty shearwaters Aptos 818 101.JPG

Then at the start of the evening, out over the sea, specks of ash – sooty shearwaters – sweep from right to left. There’s a quarter of an hour’s worth of them, thousands; and then the direction of sweeping is reversed.

The sea here has enough fish for all these birds, it seems.

The beach house where we’re staying is full of fish too.

fish beach house Aptos 818 1.JPG

fish beach house Aptos 818 3.JPG

fish beach house Aptos 818 4.JPG

fish beach house Aptos 818 7.JPG

fish beach house Aptos 818 2.JPG

They’re a good deal easier to photograph.

PH shirt fish beach house Aptos 818.JPG

It’s the frog that I covet, though.

frog candlestick beach house Aptos 818.JPG


Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

6 thoughts on “US2 – The west coast has the sunshine…”

  1. I love the frog too!! 😄
    Juste arrived in Washington DC after Iceland.
    Talking about birds it struck me that there were hardly any birds left when 15 years ago it was birds paradise…


    1. You mean in Iceland, Marie?

      I believe that here in Monterey Bay things are going in the opposite direction, bird numbers are growing. I can’t get the pelicans out of my head. “Come back pelican” says the sprog.


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