On Sunday morning Sam and I drove to Laguna Beach. Contrary to what we expected, there was very little traffic on the way down. Even the backup on the one lane road leading into Laguna was gone.
Weather reports had called for an overcast day with temperatures in the low 70s or high 60s. In other words: not a great day for the beach. However, we learned from earlier experience that the forecast is often not the reality.
At the beach the sun never wavered until late in the afternoon and the water stayed warm, much warmer than the 66 degrees of La Jolla Cove just a few weeks prior.
I stayed in the water for at least four hours of the day, and made a few new discoveries. However, the kelp forest, perhaps my favorite underwater hangout in the world (which would make it my favorite hangout overall), disappeared. This made the waves a bit choppier and the fish a bit more sparse. Still, I was able to see the largest bat ray yet, but due to it staying on the bottom far out at the edge of the rocks my photos of it are terrible.
My luck with photos and video would continue in that manner. Early on Sam and I got photos and videos of a few sting ray encounters and (a new find!) a halibut. However, my DSLR card ran out of space in the afternoon because I forgot to format it after the La Jolla trip. A replacement card (that I stupidly didn’t try out on the beach) said “card unreadable” once I was out in the water. Since unraveling the waterproof casing and dislodging the camera is difficult (not to mention swimming back out of the water and going back to our beach encampment in full gear) I decided to stick with the gopro. However, when I thought I was using the gopro to take cool videos of sting rays it turned out I hit the wrong button and took only photos. Thus, the video above on this post only shows maybe 15% of the cool stuff I saw that day.
When even the gopro was exhausted I saw something else I’d never seen in California before: a school of California Yellowtail! They appeared out of nowhere while I did underwater flips (I like to swim underwater facing the surface) and disappeared a minute later. From what I’ve read they usually don’t come that close to shore anyway.
However, a friend with us said he saw a baby sea turtle, which would be rarer still. I stayed in the water all afternoon looking for it but couldn’t find it.