January 17, 2010

Gee, Isn’t That Swell

Good morning and greetings, Dr. Martin Luther King fans. Last Monday, while most of you were having a dream, early morning risers were treated to a spectacularly colorful Monterey Bay sunrise. I had originally thought that this would be today’s lead story. But after having been to the mountain top, if you were anywhere along the coast this week, you were treated to a Olympic silver, if not gold medal performance of big waves battering the shoreline. This barrage of white water lasted a good part of the week, which was the inspiration behind today’s photo lineup. When asked for a comment about this week’s wave pictorial, one of the Righteous Brothers responded, “Your pictures are my soul and my heart’s inspiration.”

Unfortunately, we did not receive the giant swell that was expected to deliver waves up to 20 feet and higher. The swell was coming from the Gulf of Alaska and was slowed down by heavy winds blowing from the south and hot air blowing out of Rush Limbaugh. Despite the cancellation of this “high surf warning,” and epic swell, what impressed the judges most was the action down at the “blow hole,” which is located along West Cliff Drive, just south of the entrance to Natural Bridges State Beach.

This hole along the cliffs was left over from a wave powered water pump that used to force water up to a seventy-foot high tower to a 5,000 gallon tank. This was back in the olden days, when people used a horse and buggy to cruise for waves. The ocean water was then used to water down the road, much like I did the drinks at my last Super Bowl party. According to author Frank Perry, this watering down process was used for “dust control,” a problem not faced by local residents today. But then again, in the words of Kansas, “All we are is dust in the wind.”

Anyway, it was high tide and green grass forever, as the force of the waves, having traveled thousands of miles to get to this destination, were causing the spray to cascade up a good 80-90 feet in the air. Throw in the sonic “boom” of the waves hitting the cliff and the Nike “whoosh” sound as they thrust upward and it was a truly spectacular showing, much like New York Jet’s defense yesterday against San Diego.

So for those of you who didn’t make it to the edge, here is a variety pack of shots taken along West Cliff Drive. The final shot was taken on the same day from my perch at sunset along Stockton Avenue. Bottom line, Maverick’s fans, if you like big waves, this week was a good one to be alive on the planet. As my Ukranian-born grandfather’s t-shirt used to say, “if it swells, ride it.”

Let’s switch tracks for a moment. Why is there so much “hate” directed towards Haiti? The western hemisphere’s poorest nation was hit by powerful 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday, which flattened much of the nation’s capital of Port-Au-Prince, home to 2 million people. In the words of NBC’s news anchor Brian Williams, this is a place “that’s desperate on a good day.” Food and clean water were already in short supply before this catastrophic quake hit and now life there is a nightmare for the survivors. There is no water and no food. I point this out to say, please be grateful for what you have and try to not to sweat the small stuff. Like Conan O’Brien’s “Tonight Show” being cancelled on NBC or taking what Pat Robertson says seriously on Fox.

On to our late night humor segment. “I’m sure you know. NBC announced they’re pulling the plug on our show February 12th. Here’s the amazing part. That is the exact date the Mayan calendar predicted we would go off the air.” –Jay Leno “My name is Conan O’Brien, and I may soon be available for children’s parties.” According to a new TV Guide poll, 83 percent of voters — 83 percent — want me to stay at 11:35. And here’s the interesting part. When he heard this poll number, President Obama asked, ‘How can I get NBC to screw me over?’” –Conan O’Brien

“And now, according to The New York Times, Al Qaeda is claiming responsibility for the wreckage at NBC.” –David Letterman The White House said they’re working even harder now to try and find Osama bin Laden. In fact, they have now put his picture on the side of cartons of goat’s milk.” –Jay Leno
“It’s been reported that an 8-year-old boy from New Jersey is on the government’s airport watch list because he has the same name as a possible terrorist. So, it’s been a really bad week for little Skippy bin Laden.” –Conan O’Brien

David Letterman’s Top Ten Highlights of Sarah Palin’s First Day At FOX News
10. Ruined office floor by drilling for oil.
9. Detached a retina from winking at the camera.
8. Got confused — thought she signed with QVC.
7. Pistol-whipped three guys who called her “Tina.”
5. At lunchtime, Todd picked her up driving snowmobile through lobby.

So that’s our mid-January report. And if we can stay political for a moment, Congress was informed last week that the Christmas Day underwear bomber boarded his flight to frigid Detroit with no coat! This was after his father alerted the U.S. Embassy that his son had become an Islamic radical, he paid for his ticket in cash ($2,831) and he had no luggage. Unbelievable! Plus, he somehow obtained a coupon for a free headset and a second bag of mini-pretzels. Some guys have all the luck. And just when Janet Napolitano was becoming one of my favorite flavors.

Anyway, enjoy the rain this week and we’ll catch you throwing the flea flicker. And remember the words of Dr. King, when he said, “Free at last, free at last. I thank God I’m free at last.” I felt the same way when the New York Giants were eliminated from the NFL playoffs. Aloha, mahalo and later, Drew Brees fans.


  1. love the lone gull in the swell.

    and still appreciate getting the late night news that happens as I catch a few winks.

    Comment by Wendi — January 19, 2010 @ 11:47 am

  2. Wonderful photos so intimate and touching. I like the one of the bear eating the fish and all the bears cuddling/nursing! How impressive.

    Comment by gina gruenberg — March 12, 2010 @ 9:32 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Follow Sunrise Santa Cruz on Twitter
Sunrise Santa Cruz in the news!