The Cabrillo Tidepools

We recently went to the Cabrillo National Monument in Southern California. It’s home to some of California’s most famous tide pools, and it’s not too rare to find an octopus, marooned in a larger divot by the retreating tide. Unfortunately, no octopi that day! But we saw a shrimp, some turban snails, and countless varieties of limpets, barnacles, and chitons.


The rocks were covered in what, at first glance, looked like little piles of broken shell. Not even wondering about these perfectly normal phenomena, I took no care to keep my bare feet off of them. I soon learned, however, what they truly were when my toes made contact with an unpleasant squelch! Shells shouldn’t feel like that!

These small piles made to grab me, their unsuspecting prey, with their sticky blue fingers, and I pulled away, finally realizing: They were a cleverly disguised form of anemone, a form which sticks onto stray bits of shell as a costume. I carefully avoided stepping on any more of the little traps, as the strong adhesive on each tentacle makes for a very unpleasant surprise.


I still hadn’t stuck my finger in one, however, and I must admit I wanted to, just a little. I tested it by inserting a small stick right into the cavity of one of these strange beasts, to see what it did. Nothing except curl up around the twig. Alright, I’d try it. I found a large one, under water so it was both more active, and stayed open, revealing its gooey blue inside. Slowly, I applied a finger, and squealed. What a feeling! Quickly ripping away my finger, before the anemone had time to swallow it whole, I laughed. What an animal that was. They’re very strange.


Cabrillo has a lighthouse, too, that we visited. It’s a tall, narrow house, like any other old-fashioned lighthouse, with only two bedrooms, a sitting room, and a kitchen. It was a very beautiful old house, with a winding staircase that is equip with both satisfying acoustics, and superior picture opportunities (you may rest assured I used both to the fullest extent). Read Gordon’s post to find out all about that! 

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument in on a peninsula just west of San Diego, jutting out into the Pacific Ocean, toward Mexico’s Coronado Islands.

The place was discovered by explorer and conquistador Juan Rodrigez Cabrillo. When he was young, he worked as a conquistador for Hernan Cortez. He became a ship builder and built the San Salvador, which he captained throughout the Pacific. He was sailing this ship when he discovered the San Diego bay for the crown of Spain.IMG_1054

The road into Cabrillo National Monument goes through a naval base and down a windy road to the tide pools. From there you can go up to the famous statue of Juan or up to the Point Loma lighthouse.

The tidepools, should you choose to visit them, are in a cove of sorts. When the tide goes out it leaves all kinds of weird squishy sea creatures stranded in holes in the ground, unprotected from stomping six year olds. You can read my sister’s in-depth post about it here.IMG_1072

If you pass the tidepools and go up the hill, you will find a lighthouse and a trail to the old World War Two bunkers. Back in the early 40’s, this place was a huge-deal military base. We needed to protect this chunk of land where anyone with a boat could come attack our beautiful city of San Diego. In fact, they put  guns on the peninsula in response to a Japanese submarine hit on Santa Barbara.

if you go in the lighthouse, you will see the rooms of the lighthouse keeper and his family, who lived on this peninsula long before living on peninsulas was cool. The kids had to row five miles across the bay to school. This lighthouse, unlike the others we’ve visited, was actually open, and you could climb to the top floor without going on a tour. I got this  picture of the Fresnel lens:IMG_1078

In all, it’s a pretty cool place, full of history and sea creatures, but be prepared to have a hard time finding a parking spot.

A Condo in Encinitas

Grammy and Grandpa got a condo in Encinitas  as a Christmas present to us. They brought our aunt and uncle, and cousins Cam and Christian (whom we call BooBoo).

Encinitas is a little beach town about 20 miles north of San Diego. There are cliffs leading down to the beaches there, and after going down a steep staircase you arrive at about 12 yards of open sand. When we were there, there were piles of rocks on the beach, but by the time we had gone, nearly all of them had been pulled back out to sea.

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On the second-to-last day there, we had a big storm, which ripped up trees and pulled one person’s back porch off. But no biggie. We went to the (outdoor) pool. In Utah, trees don’t go flying because of a little storm. Utah trees need something good, like direct lightning, to kill them. So we played football in the pool for a while, and then sat in the hot tub.


It wasn’t all storm, though. The majority of our time was sunny and warm. On these days, we went down to the beach, swam in the pool, or went on an outing. One day we went to San Diego Safari Park, a sort of zoo, with a more wild sort of feel. That was really cool.


We went to a trampoline park, which had a ninja course. It was pretty hard, and we had a lot of fun. Gordon also met his favorite skateboard legend, Stevie Cab.

Gordon, Cam, and I played hide-and-seek a lot, which was really fun in the condo because it had a bunch of hidden, totally unexplored places. We all slept in the basement, and every night we would watch a movie down there on our own TV.

After such a fun weekend, it was hard to say goodbye, but we knew we’d be seeing each other again. We had a great time In Encinitas, California.

Sailing San Diego

I love sailing. You probably know that. I also love San Diego. Seriously my favorite town ever. So that makes Mission Bay almost too much. It’s fantastic. There’s always a perfect north-northeast wind to take you straight out to the ocean, if that’s what you’re into. If you’d rather stay in the bay, there’s plenty of room for exploring within your comfort zone. Me? I love adventures. But Dad and I haven’t been out of the bay yet. We never have quite enough time, but we hope to soon.

Sparrow sailing in Mission Bay

If you’ve never been sailing, there are two ways you might feel about it. The most common people are landlubbers. According to them sailing is: lengthy stretches of boredom with moments of sheer terror. To them the terror is rare but immense. But then there are sailors. Real, true, sea-going types. And their reaction to sailing is pretty predictable: it’s a healthy mixture of rest, work, and excitement. So which are you? Actually, you can take my quiz here.

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We’ve been out twice so far, and it’s been great. We’re practicing man-overboard drills, which is really fun. I also love when we get enough wind for it to be a little scary, because really I need to get used to it. It’s funny, but at about 6 knots, or 7 mph, it’s feels like too much. I wrote a lot about the history of sailing a while back, and you can read that here, if you’re interested. I’m excited to be zipping about the bay more, and I’ll make sure some pics get up on Instagram! See ya later!