“The sea, once it casts its spell,
holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
~ Jacques Cousteau
Summer is never complete without at least one trip to the beach. Not too many summers ago, our neighbors would load up their 1958 orange and white, now classic, Volkswagen bus and head up the coast to Zuma, just north of Malibu. The dad, Mr. Darling, was no doubt at work while Mrs. Darling packed up the kids and a picnic lunch. The son loaded up his laboriously waxed surfboard, while the two young daughters ran next door to tell me it was time to go. A bathing suit, a towel, a sweatshirt, thongs (now called flip-flops) and a bottle Sea & Ski Suntan Lotion were the bare necessities I brought along.
First stop was the filling station. I remember clearly – the price of gas was 31 cents a gallon. Most common beach-goers would head straight to Santa Monica; but, having a “real surfer” with us, our destination was predetermined by the size of waves. With the radio knob set to KHJ (or was it KRLA?), we traveled along with The Beach Boys. Our “surfin’ safari” was underway!
The iconic Malibu Canyon tunnel acted as the “gateway to the ocean.” By the time you reached this point, a precise and mostly accurate beach weather forecast could be made. Which was it to be? Clear and warm or foggy and cold were the two possibilities. The weather’s mood was reflected on the ocean water. It was either a dull gray or a vibrant Pacific Ocean blue. As you can probably gather, our feelings matched.
“What time will the fog clear?” was often a question. Clear skies or not, hopefully the surfer was able to “catch a wave” while the little girls played in the surf. One of those little girls stills loves the sea.
Due to a massive high-pressure system expanding over the southern half of the U.S. – with its core centered directly over Southern California – the fog machine has been turned off. As expected it will be hot! Temperatures over the 100-degree mark, low humidity and gusty winds (mostly in Santa Barbara and Ventura) are forecast through Sunday; accompanying these is increased fire danger. Monday and Tuesday brings a slight reprieve as cooling fog resumes; the persistent heat returns by mid-week.
Just as the fog can put a real damper on our beach plans to be without is unfathomable. It’s a good and sustainable source of energy – Mother Nature’s a/c.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.