Sunday, March 29, 2009

Capitola and beyond on Highway 1

Ventured out south on Highway 17 yesterday morning, my plan was to check out the Northern California beach town of Capitola. It was just dawn when I headed south over Santa Cruz mountains and the serenity of the morning was a welcome change. I badly needed a break from my daily grind and had brought my beach chair and laptop along (well for some writing) just in case I was up to it after a morning of photography, I figure may be I will enjoy some sun on the beach.

"Capitola Fishing Pier - my tourist shot..just couldn't seem to get the right angle whether from the south side or north end"

Soon I was in the heart of Capitola. As it was early, I had no trouble finding a parking spot on a side street near the beach. A charming beach town, Capitola has a rather arty and upscale mediterranean feel to it, a little Tuscany by the sea if you will while the brightly colored Capitola fishing pier is very reminiscent of the Malibu Fishing Pier. The annual Capitola Art and Wine Festival in September is not far mind is twirling with plans

Colorful adobe mud huts line the beach by the pier - one of the many attractions in town. A nice holiday beach pad for the entire family to chill and have some beach volleyball fun. Book early though, as the town can be packed with tourists during the peak summer months.

"Colorful adobe style mudhut - vacation rental"

After an hour of photography around the pier and the beach, I decided to finally sit down for some breakfast at the Fog Bank Bar and Grill. I ordered a lovely Spanish omelette with fruits and wheat toasts and a nice large OJ. Sitting at the bench on the balcony facing the ocean I had a perfect view. It is a good morning. I said to myself. Seagulls were frolicking, bathing in the water, the bright colors of the mud huts reflecting in the creek - a nice water show of its own.

"She was happy to be photographed in the picture perfect creek"

Ah, then there is the "Margaritaville". It did not look like it is quite ready for the bar scene though. I wonder....I took a photo of the facade for a friend of mine who is a Jimmy Buffett fan.

Later I drove around the north end of the city up a small hill to Coral Cliff - a popular surf spot with locals and college kids from UC Santa Cruz. Surfers were out in full force riding the ocean waves below the dramatic cliff drop off. The rugged coastline and the few lone trees reminds me very much of Big Sur.

As you might imagine, I had many grand plans for the day, including staying over a night at some motel 6 so I can shoot sunset. However, that plan never did materialize. By 10am, traffic on Highway 1 had built up to a crawl as families came out to enjoy an unseasonally warm day in March. I headed south on Highway 1 as fast as I could, making pit stops along the way to check out sailboats in the many marinas and caught a quick visit to the Monterey Aquarium and the Wharf waterfront. It was either back on the road joining the bumper to bumper traffic or relax for an hour or two and I chose the later. The entrance fee to the Aquarium was $29.95 for non member and the line to get in was actually long.

"The aquarium ballet....I was forced to shoot the school of fishes going by handheld"

I was a little disappointed I did not see the moon fish I saw my last visit years ago.(or the "Sun" fish as they call it in Bali - I came face to face with them diving off Bali coast many years back)

It was 4pm before I finally make my way back via Salinas on 101 to San Jose.

What was the saying again? you need a holiday to recover from a holiday - playing tourist is exhausting!!


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