Santa Cruz Sojourn

January 28, 2015 at 11:18 pm | Posted in Miscellaneous | Leave a comment

I took another ‘day trip’; this time to Santa Cruz, CA. I only live about 35 miles away, so it’s not like an expedition  or anything. My intention was to tour the Mission there.  Alas, the Mission was closed. It is only open Thursday through Saturday, so that idea was thwarted. [I know that there are all sorts of modern conveniences, such as the telephone and the computer, to prevent things like this from happening, but I sometimes just like to get in the car and drive]. I’ll file this tidbit of information away for use in the future.

However, being Santa Cruz, there’s always the beach, the boardwalk, and the wharf for entertainment, so I knew it wouldn’t be a wasted day. While in the parking lot of the Mission, I saw the top of a quaint structure and decided to investigate before trying to find the beach. It turned out to be the town clock. After I took that picture, I tried to use MapQuest, which is the GPS that came packaged on my Samsung Tablet to find the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Santa Cruz Wharf. It worked just fine…unless you expect to actually arrive at your intended destination. After two failed attempts at finding Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Santa Cruz Beach respectively, I decided that using my innate sense of direction would better serve me, and I was right. I headed toward where I figured the beach was and found a beach, (and by default, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and the Santa Cruz Wharf), within minutes.
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Left: Town Clock.
Center: Santa Cruz Beach (aka: Cowell Beach).
Right: Cowell Beach w/ Santa Cruz Wharf in the background.

Before I headed to the boardwalk and wharf, I took a few more pictures from this location.
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Left: Lighthouse.
Center: Closer view.
Right: Closer view of the wharf.

After I took these pictures, I easily found the boardwalk, beach, and wharf. And, being mid-week, I found free parking nearby. My dislike of people in general and crowds, in particular, preclude me from ever visiting Santa Cruz for a weekend. I parked in a lot at the end of the boardwalk and walked to the main entrance, about a ¼ mile away. I entered the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and began the second chapter of my photographic essay.
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Left: The entrance.
Center: The “official greeter”…OK, not really, but he should be.
Right: The Boardwalk. None of the rides were open, but that was OK with me. There weren’t that many that I would have wanted to ride anyway, [Although I wish the concession stands would have been open…I really could have used a corn dog or two about then].

After strolling the deserted boardwalk for a few minutes, opted for a walk on the beach. It too was not crowded, which pleased me immensely.
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Left: In this image, you can see from where I took my first few beach pictures. On the left center of the picture, you can see that outcropping and slightly above that, the lighthouse. There is a little cove between them, and that is where I took those first photographs.
Center: Different lens setting (50 mm as opposed to 16 mm), same basic shot.
Right: Another picture of the wharf.

I  then turned around and took a few pictures of the boardwalk from the beach perspective.
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Left, center and right are pretty much self-explanatory.

I next started toward the wharf. Along the way, I played with my camera and took these fine exemplars of photographic excellence.
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Top Left: A shot of the lighthouse, taken with my 55-210 mm lens at 210 mm.
Top Center: The mighty Pacific.
Top Right:  Another shot of the wharf w/ a raft of sea lions cavorting nearby.
Bottom Left: A shot that was taken from the base of the pier.
Bottom Center: The underbelly of the pier.
Bottom Right: The beach on the other (north) side of the wharf. That point of land jutting out creates a unique surfing opportunity for surfers. Right next to that bit of land, the waves are considerably bigger than the ones on the beach. People come from all over just to surf there.

Next, I walked onto the wharf/pier. It is called both by the locals, but its official name is Santa Cruz Wharf.
According to The Shipping Law Blog:
A Wharf is a man-made structure on a river or by the sea, which provides an area for ships to safely dock. Some are very intricate, with multiple types of  berth over a large area, and navigable channels and others are more straightforward. A Wharf can contain quays and piers and will normally have buildings within it to service the ships (often warehouses and offices). Because of their abundance of unusual buildings and ready-made water features, unused wharfs are often converted into expensive retail and housing areas (for instance Canary Wharf and Butler’s Wharf in London).

A Pier is a normally wooden, structure which protrudes from the shore at a level above the water level, allowing ships to disembark passengers in the deeper water further out. The length of the pier may also provide berths for smaller boats.

What the heck, you decide which it is.

Whatever it is, wharf or pier, it celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. Santa Cruz is part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the nation’s largest. It extends from San Francisco all the way down to Cambria.
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Left: Can you see the spectral image within the sign mimicking me?
Center: More proof of the anniversary.
Right: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

As I walked onto the wharf/pier, I took these photographs at random.
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Top Left: View of the pier.
Top Center: The pier.
Top Right: Boat on display.
Middle Left: Shops and restaurants on the pier.
Middle Center: Ditto.
Middle Right: Woodie’s Cafe (where I had lunch).
Bottom Left: More of the pier (looking back toward shore this time).
Bottom Center: yet more of the pier (looking back toward shore again).
Bottom Right: For some reason, there is a stage on the wharf. There is no seating (at least permanent seating) and the area, where it is located, would only comfortably accommodate about 100-150 people, so they can’t be holding any big events there.

After my tour of the wharf, I decided that I would stay for the sunset, as the sky looked promising…but I still had about 2½ to kill. I found out that I could drive right on to the pier and park for a measly $1.00 per hour. This sounded like an excellent idea to me, as I was beginning to tire a little (it doesn’t take that much anymore), and I was quite frankly getting a little bored as well. I headed back to my car for a little break and to move my car to the pier. Along the way, I took these photographs.
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Top Left: The beach.
Top Center: I somehow missed the volleyball courts on my way to the pier.
Top Right: Arcade.
Bottom Left: Another arcade.
Bottom Center: Roller coaster.
Bottom Right: Panorama shot of the roller coaster (I almost got it all in).

On my triumphant return to the pier, I parked in a centralized location. I decided to concentrate my photographic endeavors this time upon the local fauna.
First, birds.
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Top Left: Haha! I bet you were expecting a picture of a seagull. Don’t worry, you won’t be disappointed.
Top Middle: Also not a seagull.
The rest are images of the seagulls promised above.

Next, sea lions.
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All pictures above are of sea lions in various stages of cuteness.

Every so often, some of the sea lions would venture out from underneath the pier and form a group, or more correctly, a raft and just float around for a while.
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I have no idea what they were actually doing, but the general consensus from the other observers is that it was some sort of a mating ritual. If that is the case, it seems to me that there would be more agitation in the water around them. Maybe, sea lions just aren’t as animated as humans when they copulate, or maybe they are just insecure when they sun themselves and go out in groups, or perhaps they are females, and like human females, all go to the bathroom together so they can gossip. I don’t know… (stereotyping is a bad thing).

And naturally, what voyage to the shore is complete without pictures of boats.
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All pictures in the above group are self-explanatory.

And then the sun started to set.
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No words needed.

I really enjoyed this little outing, and am looking forward to coming back to visit the Mission.
I would appreciate any feedback you can give me. Do you like the narrative? Do you like the way I present the pictures (you can click on them to view them full size, in case you didn’t know)? How can I improve these posts? Let me know in the comments section of whatever platform you used to read this post. It would really help me to make these more enjoyable for you.









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