Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Running of the Seals in Laguna Beach

Last April, around this time, The Green Man was in the O.C.--the "real" Laguna Beach, and we're not talking about high school kids in Manolos and Humvees--when he saw from his car window that a Pacific swell was running. One thing about that Green Man, he is never without his swimfins and trunks, so a quick turnoff later he'd parked and was scrambling his way down to a pretty little cove under yellow sandstone cliffs. It was foggy, early in the day, about 10 a.m. and he had the beach and ocean to himself (while the Green Surfer Gal was changing, that is).

So we're swimming in the (cold: 59 degree) water and have just taken a nice first ride on a wave when we hear a cheer. There must be a hundred people standing on the sand, cheering us!

Now, the Green Man knows adulation has its place, but isn't that easily flattered. Although, you know, it was a pretty nice ride. And what can be a more graceful sight than that of a black rubber-clad adult male carving down the face of an emerald green wave?

So we take another wave, and plan our pull-out so that we land upright in the shallows right in front of our audience. Hello? Where are the cheers, people? I mean did you see that wave?

No, in fact they didn't--because the good people of the O.C., god bless 'em, are lined up cheering five portable dog kennels. Whose doors, when raised, launch five baby seals who leap forward and gallop like black rubber-clad golden retrievers down the sandy carpet into the sea, right past the Green Man (whose Green Goddess raced to hand him his camera for the shot at the top.)

The baby seals had been rescued over the previous winter, restored to health, and were now fattened up and on their own. Duck-diving and porpoising, they stuck around and played in the waves for awhile with us, before heading off, barking, for the poo-stained rock that seems to be a seal's idea of the Ritz Carlton.

We caught a few more waves after that, and agreed that there is still a "real" O.C. beneath the "real" Laguna Beach--you just have to look for it.

Happy Earth Day!

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