When I made plans to travel to San Francisco for the first time, Baker Beach was at the top of my list for places to visit. As a huge fan of Ansel Adams, I had long admired his photos from Baker Beach of the Golden Gate Bridge. After a long day of traveling cross country with layovers in every time zone in between, my husband and I landed in San Francisco about two hours before sunset and made to Baker Beach just in time for this shot. As one of the most internationally recognizable symbols of San Francisco, this photo of the Golden Gate Bridge is one of my favorites from that trip. We are planning to head back to the area this fall, and I might just have to visit Baker Beach again!
Thanks to the sea breezes from the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts that converge over the Florida peninsula and usually push westerly, storms pop up most afternoons along the west coast. On this day in early July, my family had been enjoying an afternoon with friends anchored just offshore at Three Rooker Bar at Anclote Key Preserve just west of Tarpon Springs, FL. Around 3:00 pm, the sky started to cloud up and typical rainy season storms started to approach the Gulf from the east. Since the line was too long to outrun, we ‘battened down the hatches’ and prepared for the impending rain. The storm only lasted about twenty minutes and was by no means violent, but the cloudy skies beforehand made for some amazing photos.
This weekend we are expecting highs in the upper 80’s and plentiful sunshine before our typical afternoon thunderstorms. With such warm temperatures, the only ways to stay cool are to be on the water or in the air conditioning! Many people will be out this weekend in their kayaks getting some great exercise while enjoying the water like only they can. With little water needed to float and virtually no impact to the sensitive sea grass beds in along our shores, kayaking opens a whole new world that few others can reach. A favorite destination for many kayakers are Caladesi and Honeymoon Island State Parks. The mangrove lined coves along the sound side of the islands are only accessible via kayak and are teaming with wildlife, making them a must see.
My family and I just returned from a fabulous vacation in the San Diego area and are still talking about what a great trip it was! My husband and I have been to California several times, but this was the first trip for our daughter and she finally saw what we’ve been raving about.
The weather was positively refreshing with highs around 70 degrees and far less humidity than we are used to at home in the Tampa Bay area. By far, our favorite spot was La Jolla Cove, just north of San Diego. The coastline is beautiful with miles of rocky cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There are a few sandy beaches tucked here and there, and plenty of tide pools to explore at low tide. In addition to all of the beautiful views, there are harbor seals and sea lions that seemed to be at every turn which totally delighted my daughter. It will come as no surprise to most of you that I just loved seeing the stunning sunsets each night.
The 17-Mile Drive along the Monterey Peninsula winds through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach, California. Touted as one of the most scenic drives in the country, the views absolutely lived up to their reputation. The rocky coastline hints at the uneven rocky surface below that help make the sea look especially restless here. Every now and then between the crashing waves I was able to catch a glimpse of a few sea otters bobbing up and down and marveled at how adept they were at navigating those rocks. In addition to the treacherous shoreline, it was an extremely windy day when this photo was taken, making the waves seem particularly spectacular.
After a recent fishing trip, my husband was filleting his catch at the marina before heading home for the day. This always draws quite a crowd…not people admiring the catch for the day, but shorebirds hoping for a snack. The feathered opportunists, this little Blue Heron, a few Brown Pelicans and a Great White Egret, were all watching intently looking for any chance that they might have a free lunch. While the pelicans are a given at any marina along the Gulf, Little Blue Herons are a treat to see. Little Blue Herons are small herons that are easily recognizable because they are as named, all blue. That is unless they are juveniles. In their first year, Little Blue Herons are actually all white. This heron is the only species to have such a dramatic color change as they age to adulthood.
On a trip to explore the coast of California, my husband and I took our time driving south along the Pacific Coast Highway taking in the scenery. While I expected Big Sur to be beautiful, I was just as taken with the beautiful rocky shoreline between San Francisco and Monterey. Pescadero especially was beautiful, with Bean Hollow State Beach as a stand out thanks to its “pebble beach“. Another beautiful spot in Pescadero is at the Pigeon Point Light Station. When we turned towards the light station from the highway, the parking area was full, so we drove a little further along the coastal road looking for a place to turn around. While we meandered along the winding road, a huge mass of Ice Plants appeared that seemed to go right up to the Pacific Ocean itself. I decided to get out and snap a few photos, and then turned to see this beautiful view of the light station. As it turns out, this view from our remote stop in the road was much better than anything I could have had from the parking lot at the light station itself. Every now and then a detour is a good thing!