Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Great Pacific Ocean

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“Are those the waves?!”  I exclaimed as we came around a bend in the trail and the shrubbery opened up to the expanse of damp beach sand.  He could only laugh at me, which is his usual reaction to my apparently amusing expressions upon discovering something new.

This was my first view of the Pacific Ocean.


Growing up in Florida, with parents born and raised in Key West, the ocean is no strange sight to me.  Where most kids grew up having their yearly growth measured against a mark on a wall, my parents recorded my growth via video as I played on the beach and my ever increasing adventure as I interacted with the waves.  But just as the Florida Atlantic coast is different from the Gulf coast, the Pacific coast is also vastly different from anything I had ever seen before.

The water was darker color and the waves, even on a calm day furiously crashed in rows and rows back into the cold Pacific waters.  You don't see waves like that in Florida unless a hurricane is blowing.  The shore was 100 yards easily, if not more, of wet sand with tiny little streams of water left from the receding tide.  That means the tidal change on the Pacific coast is MASSIVE compared to the East coast.  Talk about rip tides and undercurrents!  I can only imagine that swimming in these waters during a tidal change could be a challenge even for an experienced swimmer.

Another thing I noticed is that the air was not as salty.  When you get close to the beach in Florida the air is filled not only with the smell of sea salt, but you can quite literally feel it on your skin.  A day at the beach, even if you aren't in the water, will leave your skin and hair with a coating of salt.  I guess because the Pacific is so much larger in water volume, the salinity is significantly less than that of the Atlantic or Gulf.

That morning I woke with the tightness in my chest that signals the onset of a massive anxiety attack or mood swing filled with mania and rage.  What a day to set out on an adventure, right?  As always, he was calm and patient with me, forever understanding.  We walked around on the beach letting the dog run and play (on her leash) while I picked up shells and just marveled at the view.  After the hike through the trails of the state park and an hour out at the beach, my whole being felt calm and happy.  I have always said the beach is my safe place, my place of grounding and peace.  And this particular day was a perfect example how going to the beach can significantly turn around an anxiety attack and manic swing.  The rest of the day and drive was spent with smiles and love, and lots of planning for future trips to the Seattle area.  Looking forward to the spring when he takes me horse-back riding on the beach!



Water marker for flood/tsunami waters. 0.o !!
~sierra




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