Slippery When Wet

On Saturday, I decided to take the family out to a local spot that I had frequented as a kid but they had never been before.

The tide pools at White Point Park in San Pedro, CA are simply amazing. Not only is the scenery beautiful but so are the creatures that call it home: starfish, sea anemones, and what seemed to be an endless supply of crabs. I swear, you took one step and you could literally see them scatter way from you. But before you even had a chance to get near the sea life below, check out the view from above.

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There are two ways to get down there: you can find a parking spot on the street and walk down (our initial plan) or pay the $10 and drive down. While I would have had no problem walking back up, the family overruled me and made me pay. That decision turned out to be the right once as you will find out later in the post (and the reason for this post’s title).

One you make you way down, the view gets even better.

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This is southern California, not Hawaii.

As you make your way into the tide pools, that’s when you start to discover nature in all of her beauty: irregular-shaped rocks and shells are only the beginning. Walking closer to the rocks, the creatures that call the sea their home start to appear and are they something else.

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I have to admit that this thing sort of freaked me out but I went ahead and touched it anyway. It was definitely alive; its body trembled when I placed the tip of my finger on its back.

Despite seeing some wonderful animals in what is essentially Mother Nature’s Touch Tank, Ann wasn’t going to be satisfied until she saw a starfish. I told her she would but to get closer to the water and look closely under rocks since they like to hide.

And once she did that, she was not disappointed.

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The starfish sightings were becoming about as frequent as the crab sightings, but much more serene. Those crabs are punks and like to run as if you are going to take their secret stash of food.

So this post’s title. Let me explain. As Ann was slowly navigating her way over the rocks, she came across one that was really slippery (as some are) and warned me about stepping on it.

Perhaps the excitement of finding yet another unique sea animal got the best of me and I had forgotten her words of advice because as I was making my way back to shore, I stepped on said rock and slipped on it and I fell — hard. My right leg took the brunt of the hit while my left foot lost its grip, throwing my left leg onto the surface of another rock. On top of all that, in the midst of breaking my fall, a corner of the camera slammed into the rock and my face nearly made contact with another. In short, asses and elbows everywhere.

I was very fortunate to not have my face slam into the rock because my legs were damaged enough. While my left wasn’t too bad, the area of impact on the right one swelled almost immediately and to golf-ball sized proportions. I’d never seen anything like it. I won’t post the images here but if you are interested in seeing the carnage, click here and scan through the next few images. It wasn’t pretty but in the end it was just a minor setback. Fortunately, a lifeguard showed up as we were going to the car and Ann asked him for a few bandages. I cleaned the wounds and covered them up. All was well.

Once we had our fill of ocean exploring, we figured it was time for lunch. And if you’re in San Pedro and hankering for a sandwich, Busy Bee is the only place to go. The sandwiches are huge, the selection is great, and the people are all friendly. A definitely small-town vibe going on here.

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Sandwiches in hand, we then headed to a place I wrote about over a year ago: The Korean Bell of Friendship. It’s one of my favorite local places not only because of the scenery, but for its history and symbolism. Granted with the way things are in North Korea, the hopes of the two nations being buddy-buddy (as long as Korea remains divided) seems like a lost cause, but the bell remains a symbol that it may one day happen.

The hilltop view is stunning with views of the ocean in almost every direction. So fantastic are the views that this was what I saw as I decided to take five minutes away from the family and meditate.

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With a slight breeze blowing, I closed my eyes and let everything drift away for five minutes. It was quite an experience and I must do it again.

It was a busy day but one that the family most certainly won’t forget. In fact, Anthony is already asking when we will go back. He collected quite a few shells and cool rocks during this little excursion and wants to add to it.

I have no problem in fulfilling his request.

If you are ever in the area, by all means stop by and check out the tide pools of White Point. Getting in touch with nature – literally and figuratively – is good for the soul.

To view all images, visit the Flickr set.

Blogging 365, Day 5: On A Ship

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Getting ready to board the USS Iowa in San Pedro, CA.

UPDATED 1/5/13
Should you ever be in the area or have plans to be, do not pass up the opportunity to see her. Volunteers are extremely knowledgeable about this battleship’s history and the ship itself is in incredible condition considering all she’s gone through. You will not be disappointed.

While the tour is self-guided, we had the luxury of having our personal guide, Ann’s dad, who served on the USS Myles C. Fox for four years. He also was our guide on this tour back in 2008. It was great hearing his stories about his time on the ship and getting details on everything inside the USS Iowa.

And at 75, I can’t tell you how amazing it was to see him practically run down the ladders with such little effort. Keep in mind this man had a quadruple bypass just a few years ago. Well, he did also have four years to perfect his ladder-descending skills but it was still fun to watch.

I also have to admit that I got a bit emotional when I heard Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” playing while we were in the Gift Shop located on the ship’s second level. It’s a beautiful tune that strikes a nerve with anyhow but hearing it on board this ship and considering the time it was active sort of brought it all home.

While I took over 100 pictures (including the bed where FDR slept), I think this one pretty much sums up everything: a statue of the well-known V-J Day photo of the sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square.

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Just an absolutely fantastic day.

Read more about the USS Iowa here. She has quite a history.

Staycation: Solvang, CA

As I mentioned in my previous post, we took a road trip up the 101 into Solvang, CA. It’s a small Danish town tucked away in Wine Country that celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011.

Rather than go into detail about the trip, I thought I’d post some pictures and then a little about each one. Note that the images were taken with three different cameras as well as my phone so there will be considerable differences in color, contrast, etc. Click on each to enlarge slightly.

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