Last Saturday Sam and I rolled out of bed, got in the little blue convertible, and drove to Laguna Beach. We stopped at the Pavillions on the PCH for beach food, as we always do, and then looked for beach parking. Sometimes we luck out and get parking pretty close to the stairs to the cove, but today wasn’t one of those days. Still, parking two blocks up the street isn’t that far of a walk.
It was a nice day at the beach, warm enough to keep you warm, but not hot enough to make you hot. The water, too, was warm. Warmer than historically normal, but not warmer than the average in the last few years. That’s a long-winded way of saying it was above seventy degrees and it’s supposed to be in the sixties.
Unfortunately what that warmth translates to under the water is a lack of the biodiversity that needs the nutrients in cold water to thrive on the California coastline. Chief among them being the great kelp forests that run up and down the coast but have been dying off the closer to the border they get. On this day there were a few strands struggling to grow up to the surface from the rocks on the right side of the cove. Five years ago this same area of the cove hosted an entire kelp forest that one could deliberately get lost in. To be fair, the kelp always struggles a bit in summer with the warmer temperatures, but if it’s too warm they die, uproot, and drift off toward the beach. I came across more dead and drifting kelp strands on this visit than live ones.
When you lose the kelp, you lose the fish that eat the kelp or hide in the kelp. Those fish aren’t around to get eaten by the bigger fish, and so on. I spent at least two hours in the water on Saturday and only saw one bat ray, no round rays at all, and an adult flounder.
As always, Sam’s favorite part of these weekend trips are what happens after we leave the beach: we eat! This time we stopped by the Anaheim Packing District for our regular serving of Pan Roast. This time, however, we did not dip grilled cheese sandwiches from Black Sheep in the roast, due to my discovery last fall of my wheat allergy. Instead, we ordered the Carolina pulled chicken from The Kroft. Delicious pulled-chicken but, c’mon guys, we didn’t know it was a sandwich because you put it under the chicken fingers and not in the “sandwich” menu. We finished it off with gelato. Not mentioning the vendor because while it tasted good, it wasn’t the best – a lot of artificial flavoring.