I drove out to Malibu early Sunday evening, timed to miss the heat of the day and the snarl of traffic. My destination was Carbon Beach, aka Billionaire’s Beach – because you need that many zeroes in your checking account to live there. But there’s no such thing as a private beach in California. All 800+ miles of coastline, from Mexico to Oregon, are public access. So there I was. Shoes in one hand, camera in the other, on a meandering stroll along this one-and-a-half-mile stretch of uncrowded, unhurried paradise.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to coveting one or two of those beachfront pleasure domes. There are some truly spectacular modern structures, though my tastes run more to the older, traditional architecture… the white-washed, red-tiled Mediterraneans and the gray-shingled ramblers reminiscent of Cape Cod. But the happy truth is, none of the super shacks can compete with the extravagant beauty of the beach. The warm sun, the salt in the breeze, the glowing sky, the rolling surf, the infinite horizon. The tableau is so familiar, yet utterly unique from one moment to the next, ever changing. A dog romps happily in the surf. A squadron of pelicans swoops down low, skimming the waves. Two dolphins glide by just offshore, in no hurry. Every once in awhile a helicopter zooms by, low and fast. A lone surfer takes his board out to catch a few more waves before dark. And as the sun sinks its rays lengthen, shadows stretch out, colors deepen, the hills dissolve to silhouette and lights begin to twinkle.
On the way back, the tide was coming in a little faster than I was moving, and the beach disappears entirely here and there. I had to clamber over some boulders to avoid getting soaked by the unforgiving waves. I wasn’t entirely successful in that bid to stay dry, but that’s what shorts and old boat shoes are for. I left my sodden, sand-filled shoes at the car (having scored a parking space right where I wanted it on PCH), and continued barefoot to catch the last of the light from the end of Malibu Pier. I even waited until after 9 o’clock for the moonrise, as it was the night after the “super moon” – and I was rewarded with a beautiful sight as the big red moon came up over Santa Monica Bay. But no reward for you, unfortunately, as my trusty smartphone camera just can’t handle celestial events. Here, though, are a few snapshots from one of my favorite places. Enjoy!
Perfect end to the day.
The End (so far)