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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 3:56 pm | Partly Cloudy 63º


Captain’s Log: Coastal Delights Right Beyond the Waves

Even if you don’t cast a line, adventures abound just beyond the surf. Click to view larger
Even if you don’t cast a line, adventures abound just beyond the surf. (David Bacon photo)

I had a family charter group out this week, and after easily catching plenty of fish for their dinner they asked if it was possible to just cruise around along the coast and see the sights.

We had a couple of hours left in our time, and it was plenty to enjoy some local sights from the perspective of just behind the waves.

We came inshore near the cemetery just east of East Beach and cruised on down to pass Butterfly Beach, where we slowed down to a drift to enjoy a pod of porpoises, who were obviously just enjoying themselves in the middle of a glorious day.

They seemed to be enjoying the sun and warmth by spending an unusual amount of time right on the surface, with their backs out of the water. It made me wonder if they can sunburn easily. I don’t know the answer to that one.

We followed that pod for 20 minutes, during which they never moved more than about a hundred yards and, seemingly, never for a particular reason. They circled and rubbed against one another, giving us a lesson in friendly intimacy.

After another short cruise, baitfish boiled up on the surface and skittered across topwater to escape a marauding predator below.

The life and death lessons of the food chain always intrigue me and make me think about how the closest most folks come to being a true predator is rolling a shopping cart through the aisles of a grocery store.

That is perfectly okay because not everyone is psychologically suited to bringing home meat for the table the old fashioned way. Just never tell a hunter that we’re not predators, unless you want to be laughed at.

Our overpopulated California sea lions were lounging on every manner of haul outs, including low boats in the anchorage, buoys and mooring cans. They seemed to be everywhere.

But then we cruised through an area where there wasn’t a sea lion to be seen within a thousand yards. I suspected the nearby presence of “the landlord.” It is amazing how sea lions can communicate and react to the presence of a great white shark.

Then we cruised comfortably into the harbor where the entrance was shared by all manner of watercraft on a warm sunny (early-heat-wave) day, and the family was off to explore waterfront shops and restaurants.

June is a great time of year for exploring the coast from just behind the waves.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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