Pushing Back On The Mud, Day Thirteen

April 14, 2023, Aptos, CA- The Australian surfer dude turned restaurateur took my order for two of his unique tacos, made of baked vegetable shells. I chose red beet shells, one filled with ahi and avocado; the other, filled with crab and avocado creme. Diced vegetables and mango topped each one. When it came time for me to pay, he was off doing something else. So I looked around the immediate arcade and nearby shops, then came back and paid. This isn’t something I particularly feel okay doing, but this is Capitola.

Before the storms of January and March, the little town was a surfer’s haven. Margaritaville has a branch here, and there is the well known Pizza My Heart. Many places are just now renovating and preparing to reopen. There is a Homeless Garden Project that is getting started as well, and when I get back to Home Base, I will order a few of their products, to help the effort along.

Today was my day off from shelter duty, and it was lovely day for a hike. So, I started out on Seacliff Beach, just south of the wrecked SS Palo Alto, which has been left in situ, as a marine animal habitat. The cement ship was used, for a time, as a recreation and entertainment site. People came from the Bay Area and Sacramento, to dine and dance on its polished wooden floors, and gaze at the stars on the northern edge of Monterey Bay. Now, it is the centerpiece of this part of Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary.

SS Palo Alto, wrecked by a storm, in 1932.
SS Palo Alto, from Seacliff Overlook

Seacliff, New Brighton and Capitola Beaches all suffered from January’s Atmospheric Rivers. March’s sequels didn’t help matters any.

Seacliff Beach, Aptos
Driftwood at the edge of a forested hill, Seacliff Beach
A lone cliffside bouquet, Seacliff Beach
Boulders moved by the surf and collapsed from the force of the January storms.
Little Koe’s Beach Bits, Capitola, CA-Home of the veggie shell taco
Capitola Village
Capitola Wharf, damaged in January, 2023 Atmospheric Rivers
Snow glories, New Brighton Beach, Capitola
Long-billed curlews, catching their meals

It was a full six-mile roundtrip, up a couple of bracing flights of stairs and along a flat, but sometimes absorbent, stretch of sand. Both Aptos and Capitola are worth a day of exploration.

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