Driving out to Jalama Beach wan’t too bad, yes the road is narrow and yes there are some pot holes, you just take it slowly and watch for oncoming traffic, which was minimal. At least there were no yawing drop-offs and when you pass over those dry hills and leave the beautiful oaks behind the Pacific Ocean greets you as well as the railroad track that runs along the coast..now there is a ride I’d like to take! I settled for the sunset the first night we were there…ah….that ocean.
Land near Jalama Creek was once a Chumash Indian settlement named “Halama”. The stream flows out from the interior valleys, under the railroad bridge and down to the sea. It is a haven for birds to drink and bathe. This small county park-23 acres more or less is quite a gem. There are spots right on the beach as well as up the hill, both power and water are available at a limited number of sites on the hill..train noise up there may be an issue, we were parked in an ample spot in the middle.
It was a hop and a skip to the beach and it was windy. Love to have the breeze blowing through the trailer, I’m not a fan of closed windows and the last few days in the interior meant air conditioning and couped up..not here:) with the beach only steps away you could wander for hours in both directions. There were terns, seagulls and snowy plovers on the beach and near the creek, egrets, ducks, coots and grebes. It was perfect! I do love watching and photographing birds. I’m still in learning coastal bird stage after all the years in the sierra but I’m catching on fast. The Snowy Plovers here are protected and their nesting habitat is being rebuilt. The one I photographed was banded, so I found out where to send that information online and received a lovely email back telling me it was banded as a chick at Vandenburg Air Force Base 2014, just to the North of us. Very cool!
Mike was really pleased as he unpacked his telescope and got all the crazy comments “is that a cannon?” ( he is used to that) and he had a good sized crowd there once the sun was down and they had an amazing look at the moon. Wonderful to hear the exclamations, and sometimes the silence and awe that come with looking at this amazing object. He had a horde of small kids as well that were really delighted and one surfer that was literally speechless. The first night the seeing was truly awful, very wavy but the next day a high pressure system came through the view was fabulous. I even set the alarm for 1 a.m. and went out to catch the setting Milky Way. There is a wonderful app for my Samsung phone called Plant it-for Photographers that lets you know where the Milky Way is, when it rises, sets as well as the planets and moon and well, just about everything you need to know for astronomy shooting..really a wonderful tool. It was wonderful to be away from the city lights and to enjoy the night skies, though not as dark we we are used to, they were beautiful.
The beach was quite quiet during the day and when the wind started to pick up mid-morning there were several kite surfers out amazing me with their antics…these guys are crazy, in a good way. I’d never seen this before so it was really interesting to watch. Not as easy as it looks one of the surfers exclaimed…a whole new learning curve, you have to learn to fly that kite first! Our stay during the week was really quiet..no loud people or parties but I can imagine the weekends would be a bit busier. Walking on the beach you encounter huge flocks of Elegant Terns and several species of seagulls, Heermans and Western Gulls, as well as Long Billed Curlews and the ever present Sanderlings running to and fro with the waves.
There is a delightful Burger Joint-Home to the famous Jalama Beach Burger and their award winning Clam Chowder (delicious) with a view of the beach and estuary. Nice place, lovely owner, good eats and the store has pretty much anything you could need as well as walls of Jalama history-shipwrecks and Tsunamis…
I have to admit the signs still freak me out a bit, it would be like having Earthquake signs all across the San Andreas Fault..you know it’s there, but you try not to dwell on it…these signs are all over the coast. After the tremendous damage in Japan I think folks on this side of the world started taking it seriously. I had a few nightmares parked in those gulches..where to run to? There were photos of wreckage from a Tsunami that hit in 1927..gulp…maybe it’s time to go inland again..;)
We were thinking of staying a few extra days but with the weekend approaching there were no spots to be had, people came in Thursday night and snapped up the last first come first serve places so we looked for a way around L.A..hell LA..but decided to try to stay in Northridge, then push onto San Diego..getting closer and closer to Ensenada. I loathed the idea of the city but Saturday morning we packed up and bade a fond farewell to Jalama…We will be back to this delightful beach and County Park. I had more practice on the beach with my long exposures and ND8 filter and I was not looking forward to “civilization” again…it’s just not in my heart those endless stretches of concrete and buildings..I know there is beauty there, if you look, but I choose the noise of waves over the noise of traffic…”I don’t even notice it anymore” people tell me..and I do suppose one just starts to tune it out, but if given the choice, the racket of seagulls and surf would be my choice any day. I’ll bid you farewell for now, but stay tuned and we’ll see if we survive the city;) Saludos Amigos.