With Kung Fu over, and Nate sporting a shiny new red belt (and us sporting a shiny new enormous dent in the wallet, when we had to 'upgrade' his membership to "Masters Club", so he could start training with swords (Swords? An eight year old with swords? I think I just got a little bit faint there, thinking about it), it was time to figure out how to spend the rest of the day.
Ken wanted to go do something "secret" with the boys (which supposedly involved finding me a birthday present, but which, I think, involved getting Rock Band 3), so I suggested to Toni (who had showed up at Kung Fu to pick something up that they'd left at my house earlier in the week) that it would be a good idea if she (and her daughter) finally got a chance to GO SEE THE WHALE!
(I always suggest to Kelly's friends that we GO SEE THE WHALE, and it is often met with great enthusiasm from the friends, and great moaning and complaining from Kelly, who remembers how atrocious the corpse smelled that first day. But that doesn't stop me from suggesting it.)
Toni thought it was a great idea, so we went back to my house (so I could get my inhaler, because I'd been kind of over-exerting myself since dawn, and was having trouble inhaling), and then she offered to drive! Score!
And so that saw us going over to Half Moon Bay for the second time that day.
First stop was at a place called Tres Amigos, a great Mexican food place, for great authentic (or, if not authentic, it sure was cheap eats, and tasty) fish tacos and burritos. And then we were off to find the whale.
We parked in the usual place, and then headed down the headland path.
As we came around the corner to get our first glimpse of the beach in the distance, I could NOT believe my eyes. The whale corpse was GONE!
All that remained was a single rib bone, and a few patches of stinky blubber.
SRSLY, three weeks ago, where Toni is standing, there was a giant upside-down whale corpse. What the...?
I mean it had been RIGHT... THERE...
Oh look. The surf has moved the whale!
Do you think YOU would need to be told NOT to climb on a rotting, stinky, oozing pile of vomit-and-decomp-scented pile of jello?
Me neither. But apparently there was a reason that this sign was posted.
The surf had jostled the corpse so much that it had become deboned, and now resembled a deflated whale balloon.
There weren't a lot of bones around, either. I think people might have been taking them, even though the sign said not to. On the beach that the whale was originally, there's one rib bone left. And in the above photo, you can barely make out another rib, just in the water to the right of the deflated whale balloon.
On another rocky beach, we found half the jaw bone.
Here, let's get in there for scale...
(sorry that it's all washed out. Weird weather, and I wasn't chimping my photos as they were being taken, so some of them have very skewed histograms... and I didn't do any post-processing, which is really showing)
Oh, and in a sea cave we found a single vertebra. I have entered the frame here also... for scale.
The girls were tired of the smell. They left, and went down the coast to find a 'beach that doesn't smell'.
While Toni and I were exploring the whale remains (but NOT climbing on them, of course, because we are rule followers), a tour bus pulled up, and disgorged about two dozen Japanese tourists. They descended on the whale remains, and were taking photos left and right. Toni and I took that opportunity to exit, stage right.
We walked down the beach, and soon found the girls, playing in the sand.
Toni and I took the chance to sit down on the warm sand, and just watch the girls and chat. It was a great time.
And then I noticed, back to my right, one of the Japanese tourists was heading back towards the bus. But he'd stopped, and had his camera down by his waist. I realized he was trying to be nonchalant about taking a photo of the girls.
Busted, dude. I called over to the girls, "Hey ladies! Smile for the camera!" And they looked up, saw the guy with the camera, and flashed their pearly whites. Don't think you can hide, dude. I see you.
The hilarious part? He looked over at us, and did that semi-bow that looks like an apology, and then held up the camera, and raised his eyebrows in the universal symbol of "Can I keep taking pictures?"
Of course, we nodded. Who are we to deprive this tourist from half way around the world the opportunity to take photos of actual California Girls (one white-blonde, and one with a massive crop of freckles) playing on a California Beach?
And it was as if we had Released The Hounds!
The next thing we knew, we were celebrities:
And then they had to get into the action. What's more American than making sand castles on the beach?
This lady must have dug around in the sand with the girls for 5 minutes, she was having such a good time.
I think Toni and I had tears streaming down our cheeks, we were laughing so hard. And the girls kept looking at us like "What the...?" and we'd say "Just keep smiling. You're 'typical Americans', and the tourists are fascinated by you!", so they'd keep smiling, and playing, and the shutters kept clicking at a rapid rate.
And then the tourists moved on, and the girls went down to play by the water.
And then we looked down the beach, and nearly wet ourselves with laughter....
The surf was incredible.
But we did need to keep reminding the girls to watch the waves, lest they be swept off to Japan (where, of course, their lifeless bodies would be identified, because their photos will probably be spread all over the Japanese interwebs, as a result of our tourists and their shutter-happy cameras)
Whew. In the end, all was well, and the only problem was an excess of sand between their toes.