Beach walks are easy on the soul and well as the soles. Thoughts and daydreams float lazily, fueled by the sounds of waves washing the shoreline. Shorebirds scamper out of the way and seabirds squawk overhead (please watch out for bird bombs from above).
We are now in the absolute best time of year for a casual stroll along our gorgeous beaches. Think about it: When was the last time you went for a walk on the beach?
To plan a great beach walk, first check the weather to be sure it’s not going to be too windy or wet. Then consult a tide table, to time the walk around low tide when the widest expanse of beach is exposed.
At high tide, walking around rocky points can become challenging because the waves may be breaking right onto the rocks. To get by, it is necessary to brave the water and waves, or climb over rocks. Low tide is when traversing rocky points is easiest.
Wave action deposits sea goodies during the high-tide period, and then the water recedes during the low-tide period, leaving the debris high on the beach and easy to explore. It never ceases to intrigue me what trash and treasures find their way into the sea and then onto our beaches.
My personal favorite time to explore the beaches is during the two days immediately after a large storm with high waves and those storms are coming our way shortly. The beach booty can be amazing.
Driftwood can stack up along the beach in intriguing formations. Some of it comes from our local canyons, but some comes from much farther along the coast and drifts along in the southward flowing California Current until making landfall.
Other interesting beach booty includes kelp holdfasts, where small crustaceans and other interesting life forms are trapped. These holdfasts can be searched for small shells, which make nice necklaces or bracelets. Larger crustaceans and shellfish have life cycles, which result in abandoned shells that storms deposit onto the beaches.
Empty shells are commonly found and include some gorgeous specimens like conch and various sea snails.
This is the best beach walking time of year. Do your planning carefully by looking up the weather and tide tables. Then go out and spend a few hours being a beach-combing kid again. It will help you appreciate why we live here.
— 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.