This afternoon we packed everyone up and went over the hill to the beach.
And, judging by the amount of people there, four people in Northern California did something else like watch a movie or mow the lawn. But, whatever. We braved the traffic and the full parking lots and the packed beach and we got all ready to get in the water so the boys could boogie board while SG and I took the girls in to test out the wetsuits he picked up for them after their proven ability to rip it up on a boogie board on our last beach trip.
There were a bunch of birds just offshore, and Hey! there's a seal! And another one!
Wait. What's all that silver stuff, up where the sand goes from dry to wet along the shoreline? Huh. It looks like, what? Fish? Ew. Are those fish?
Oh. Yeah. Those ARE fish. Wow. That's, uh, that's a LOT of fish. Are they alive? I mean, the ones that are more than just heads? And look at all those birds! And seals!
Eh. We can still swim. No problem!
Oh. Oh yuck. A fishhead just washed up against my ankle. Did I just? Oh, gross. Yick. I just stepped on a fish head.
SG said he hasn't seen a sardine run in years, but was betting that was what this was. Sure enough, there were thousands of birds flying low over the water. Gulls and pelicans, thousands and thousands of them. And the seals. I saw five or seven of them at once at one point as we stood in the surf, dodging dead fish that were washing up at a ridiculous rate.
We stayed in the water watching for a long while, but the boys didn't swim out. Not only was there a silly amount of dead fish, but there were gimongous seals very close to shore chowing down.
We sat at a picnic table and ate.
Nate skated down to the pier while we cleaned up and SG loaded the van.
We drove to the pier and met Nate, then walked out to see the fisherpeople and the cement boat.
Everyone on the pier was catching a ton of little sardines, and there were lots of kids fishing, so of course my kids walked right up and made friends. There was a group of three or four siblings who had a bucket of little fish that they decided to throw back. I think all my kids (except maybe Lex) took a try at tossing a fish back over into the sea, giggling and screaming FLYING FISH! These are the same children who won't get in the bath if there is a spider up in the corner of the bathroom, you know, minding its own bisness up by the ceiling. But, a floppy little possibly dead, certainly smelly fish? HAND IT OVER, DUDE.
I don't get that.
Our trip was totally fun, for some reason. No one was pissed about not getting to surf or swim or boogie board. How could we be, really, when we got to see a baby seal jump up into the air, and a big seal gulp down a fish above the surface of the water? And all the birds — so impossibly many of them.
As it got dark, we came home and had popcorn and watched Uncle Buck, even though it was too late to start a movie. Even though there's a little cussing in the one we did start. It's summertime.