My partner in crime- Sammy- and I decided to go shoot video for our friend's wedding in San Luis Obispo, California. I went up early to make a trip out of it and had way too much fun for a "work" weekend.
Day One: County Line & Beaches
On the drive up, my new found friends Matty and Kyle (whom I literally stumbled upon) drove us to Malibu to visit the famous Neptune's Net. This restaurant was a filming location in the movie The Fast and The Furious. Pretty dope, right?!
The beaches in Malibu were beautiful. The water was divided by layers, each a different shade of blue. I had never witnessed such ocean glory before. I was mesmerized- blue is my favorite color!
Sand Fleas or Sand Crabs?
Actually they're "Emerita", a small genus of decapod crustaceans known as mole crabs, sand fleas or sand crabs. One of my friends swore they were sand, biting fleas she had come in painful contact with while vacationing in Florida. But these little guys didn't bite or bother us at all.
A ton of these crabs were dead on the shore which immediately caught my attention and even made me sad! Looking closely at the sand were visible "V's" after the waves rolled in where the live ones were burrowed in the sand. Every handful of sand was full of life as these guys squirmed trying to escape through my fingers. One of my friends captured a crab that was molting and it was awesome! It took this guy about five minutes to break free into his new "skin"! (No idea if it was a guy or girl, just guessing!)
More pictures from day one....
Day Two: Water Day
A group of friends and I went Standup Paddleboarding commonly known as "SUP" for short with a company called Avila Beach Paddlesports. This company was great, inexpensive and our guides were so cool and friendly! They took over 400+ photos of my friends and I- emailed them all within a day of our adventure. The best part- the photos were included in the pricing!
I always think to myself there's no greater feeling than being out in the ocean, whether it's on a boat or catching a wave. It's unknown- animals are invisible to you, curiously swimming around, inspecting you, hopefully not taking investigative bites out of you. It's uncertain- the wind, the waves, if you fall in the water, the size of swells. My favorite part of the ocean: it's unpredictable- the fog, the animals, you never know what you'll see or get. It's truly something I could be around for a lifetime. I wish mermaids were real!
I've been surfing and deep sea fishing, but SUP was definitely a more intimate experience for me. I was able to take a GoPro out and shoot some awesome videos and photos. Watching sea lions and otters up close made me giddy inside since I had never been that close to them in the wild. It's the same starstruck feeling you get when you see someone famous, for real. A part of me wanted to impulsively jump into the water and swim with them or reach a hand out to slap them five. The more logical part of me realized these animals probably use their teeth when threatened, so I just stayed on my board. Either way- we enjoyed observing each other and even managed to pose for a few selfies together.
Besides the awesome sea lions and otters, our group spotted some translucent creatures washed ashore. Our paddle board guide informed us that they were Velella Jellyfish. With further research I discovered a lot of people refer to them as "Sail Jellyfish" or "Blue Sailor Jellies" and it's not hard to see why. Their triangular shape allows them to live half in and half out of the water making them "pleuston". Their structure allows them to move by wind, the way a boat catches wind in its sail. They feed mainly on plankton by means of tentacles that hang down into the water. These pretty jellies are usually not harmful to humans, although itching can occur if your skin is exposed to their tentacles for too long. The blue area felt squishy and sticky, while the more translucent part felt crispy like Pringles, but strong to touch.
Not all of the creatures I spotted were in the water. At one point I was paddling down a line of huge rocks where tons of birds perched. As I paddled by them, one by one they took flight so it felt like I was in the eye of a bird tornado. Below me was a reef of life ranging from plants to fish. The water become visible enough for me to get a glimpse of the amazing ecosystem just feet below me.
Halfway through our adventure we stopped to take a little hike up to a lighthouse. We also got a mini geology lesson about the California state rock Serpentinite- which was everywhere! Apparently Arizona doesn't have a state rock, just a state mineral and gemstone (copper and turquoise) incase you were feeling guilty you didn't know your own state's rock!