San Diego was hit by an unusual heat wave this summer.

One evening Bill and I escaped to the beach for a Windansea sunset.

A week or two before we’d attended a memorial service at Windansea for Matt, a family friend. We had gathered on the rocky bluffs of Windansea beach. Matt’s friends, family and pastor all shared memories and tears. Then a few of his surfer friends did a ceremonial Paddle-out in his honor. That’s a tradition here as a way to honor surfers who have died. Friends of the surfer paddle their boards out beyond the waves, sometimes gathering in a circle, sometimes in a group. Perhaps in some places, cremated ashes might be scattered in the sea, but in San Diego it isn’t legal to throw ashes that close to shore. So Matt’s friends cast flowers into the ocean instead.

It was a lovely ceremony, in a gorgeous location, but for a sad occasion. Someone was taken from us too soon.

Bill and I wanted to go back and enjoy beautiful Windansea, and redeem Matt’s memory by building some happier moments at that place.
We chose an evening when the tide was low at sunset, as the beach at Windansea is not wide, and the waves come right up to the rocky bluffs at high tide. *Tip: Tide Charts are your friend when planning trips to certain beaches.*

San Diego had been baking in an unusual heat wave. **First World Problem Alert** I know. I know. One friend threatened to block us if we complained anymore about the heat we had this past summer. But our house isn’t air-conditioned. Or swamp-cooled. Not even one room. We were cookin’ day and night.

We picked up some KFC, packed our beach chairs, and headed to the coast.

The marine layer obscured the setting sun until the last few minutes.

So we had a subtle summer sunset.

(The glorious, blazingly colored ones come in the winter here in San Diego. November, December, that’s when you catch AMAZING sunsets.)

But this one was so beautiful to me.

Peaceful. Serene.

Low key. Delicate and understated.

Golden Sand

We weren’t the only ones on the beach. This interesting shorebird popped up on the rocks near us, and slowly waded his way across the wet sand of the shore break. I was surprised, as I’d never seen one before. This guy is called a whimbrel. He’s a wader with a long, curved beak.

A Whimbrel Wanders In

Whimbrels migrate from summer breeding in the Arctic to South America. They aren’t common birds here, but San Diego is on their fly path. Whimbrels use their long beaks to probe sand for small crabs. This fellow took his time checking out the crab situation of Windansea beach, much to our delight.

Shorebird at Windansea

Our Windansea beach sunset was pastel.

When the waves receded, and the sand was wet, the reflecting sun turned the beach pure gold.

At the last few minutes, the sun peeked out from below the marine layer.

And a peachy-orange was added to the pastel mix.
The air cooled.

A bit of a shore breeze kicked in.

A couple of seals swam by on their way to their La Jolla beach homes.

A perfect end to the day.

R.I.P. Matt.

Crashing Waves at Windansea