All summer long Isobel has been asking us to take her to the beach. She’s actually been to the beach a couple times before but she was so little she can’t remember it. Isobel’s dreams of the beach include a hot sun, swimming with dolphins and mermaids, and collecting sea shells. Unfortunately for her we live near something she calls “the cold beach” and San Francisco isn’t known for warm temperatures this time of year. Even knowing that she was excited to visit the beach and I was excited to get out of the house because I didn’t realize I was crazy and so instead naturally assumed I was losing my mind.
If I was going to lose my mind, I thought, why not lose it alongside the tumbling waves of the Pacific?
Visiting the beach was a great day trip for us to take as a family. We brought a picnic lunch and didn’t go anywhere else in SF besides the free public beaches (China and nearby Baker) so all we had to pay for was gas. Gas isn’t cheap, of course, but for less than the price of eating out we got to take a family trip that we’re still enjoying today through our memories.
We were lucky because it was actually very warm for much day for the Bay, mid 70s I’d say, and we got to experience what felt like a full rotation of the seasons in one late morning to early afternoon stretch. Even though we couldn’t dive right in to the water Isobel wasted no time playing in the sand and mud and sea and collecting everything from rocks to shells to feathers to abandoned crab carapaces.
Isobel and Dada explored and climbed all over the rocks while I sat on the beach, exhausted, and wondered why I couldn’t finish my lunch when I was so hungry. Even though my energy was low it was lovely just to sit in the sand and absorb the beauty of the day and my surroundings. Dada and Isobel played in the sand and after awhile we decided to leave China beach for Baker beach, just a few blocks down, in order to have one more place to explore before we left for home. As we were leaving we walked to a lookout point and we saw the most incredible sight — a whole pod of dolphins, dozens of them, cruising through the bay just a hundred feet from shore. It was incredible! The night before we had prepared Isobel for a day at the beach by watching a dolphin documentary, but we could never have predicted this! Seagulls and other ocean birds would be their calling cards. As soon as we saw birds landing in one spot of the water, the pod would surface and we’d see dorsal fins flash through the air. It was amazing and we were so lucky to see it.
Isobel accidentally “took a little dip” (as she calls it) in the waters at China beach and so we changed her before heading to Baker. The backup sweater we brought for her was too small so we ended up bundling her up in Anthony’s (waaaaaaay too huge sweater). Seeing her walk around in it was comic gold.
As we turned to go the fog rolled in and the wind turned cold. We packed the sun up with us and went home.