Sunsets, Surfers, and a Stunning Dolphin Sighting

*If this is your first time seeing this post, please be sure to read the comments at the end. It makes the story ten times sweeter. 🙂

Last night, we decided to go watch the sunset over the ocean. Since our condo is just steps from a scenic overlook, that was easy. I grabbed my camera on the way out the door, thinking I’d work on my sunset photography skills.

As we walked down the path toward the water, I realized I’d forgotten my cell phone. No biggie, I thought. Havarti had his phone.

When we got to the overlook, I could tell it was going to be a gorgeous sunset. So I decided to run down to the beach (a bit of a hike, with LOTS of stairs) to get an unobstructed angle.

“I’m going to run down and take photos from the beach,” I said.
“I want to go!” cried the kids.
“No, stay here with daddy,” I replied. “We’re not going in the water, so you guys would just be going down the stairs and back up. I’ll just go by myself.”

They agreed that it didn’t sound as much fun not going in the water and stayed put.

As I left the family behind, I remembered again that I didn’t have my phone. No biggie, I thought. There are lots of people here, and what could possibly happen going down to the beach and back?

As I descended the stairs, there were a couple of surfers way down in front of me. I may or may not have chased them down like a crazy person to take some photos I thought would look cool.

Like, totally California, right?
So here I am surreptitiously photographing random strangers with their surfboards, when suddenly I notice something popping out of the water out in the surf.

My first thought was “Jaws,” but quickly I saw that there was more than one.

And then one popped right out of the water! Not Jaws–Flipper! A whole pod!

Um. Yeah. Awesome. We were totally blown away. 
And by “we,” I mean me and Random Lady Next to Me on the Beach, because I stupidly told my family to stay behind and hadn’t brought my cell phone (which turned out to be a pretty big “biggie”). Gonna be wracked with guilt over that for a while.  
We bonded a bit, Random Lady and I. She lives around here. She said she’d been walking the beach, thinking about her friend who had recently lost her son, and then these dolphins showed up. She felt like it was a sign and wanted to share the experience with her friend, but she couldn’t get any good photos. So she got my e-mail address and I sent her some. Kinda cool to be a part of a stranger’s special moment.
Random Lady said she sees dolphins here fairly frequently, but they don’t usually come that close to shore and don’t usually stay that long. We watched them for a good half an hour. If I’d known they were going to stay that long, I would have asked to borrow someone’s phone and told Havarti to get the kids down there. (Then again, everyone on the beach was trying to capture the moment on their phones, and it would have been extremely rude to ask someone to borrow their phone at that particular moment.)
They came REALLY close to the shore. Like, right where the surfers surf. Barely beyond the breakers. I could have run into the water and swum to them pretty easily (if it wasn’t so cold and I wasn’t terrified to do so). 
I tried to get some photos that showed how close they were:

Dude, check it out! He’s catchin’ a wave!

 Oh, he totally bailed! Harsh, dude.

 But seriously, look at where the sand is. They were right there in front of us.

RIGHT. THERE. So much guilt for my family missing this. But really glad I had the camera. (Though I really wished I had a telephoto lens. Could have gotten some amazing shots with a little more zoom.)

Oh yeah, I did end up getting some nice photos of the sunset, too. 🙂

These days in southern California keep blowing us away. What a crazy amazing life. 

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

Comments 6

  1. I received this e-mail after sending a link to this post to “Random Lady.” Amazing. I am humbled and awed. She tried to post it as a comment, but it didn’t work, so she asked for it to be posted:

    Dear Annie,
    My friend, Kelly, is the “random lady.” I will call her that for the rest of her life! I am also the mom whose son, Luke, died on April 23 up in Huntington Beach. He died on a Tuesday night and I found that on both the first Tuesday after he died (April 30) and then again this past Tuesday (May 7) I was really struggling to keep it together. Luke is the oldest of 5 and has left behind two sisters, ages 20 and 18 and two brothers, ages 13 and 11. I truly felt like Tuesdays were going to be Hell for the rest of my life. However, you and Kelly have changed that for me! She started texting me about the dolphins and I thought it was sweet, etc. She kept texting and so I called her. When I heard her voice I realized how special this night was. AND then, when I saw these pictures later in the evening I burst in to tears! These pictures are beautiful! We laughed at the one with the 5 dolphins together. The “oldest” one is jumping out of the surf; the two “sisters” are swimming together and the two “younger brothers” are along for the ride. These are my five kids and this is a gift that Luke sent to me so that I will now be able to celebrate Tuesdays instead of being afraid of Tuesdays. Thanks for running down to the surf. You can let your family know that you gave another family a great gift that night!

    Sincerely, Becky

  2. Beautiful. It’s not so horrible for mom to have a few special memories all her own, is it? I think a lot of surfers enjoy surfing at sunset because of the dolphins. I know it was the draw for my brothers when they surfed.

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