The other day I was lucky enough to have the time to make a run to the beach. Not just any beach, but one of my all-time favorite beaches! Sand Dollar Beach is on the island of Magdelena, across the bay from the town of San Carlos on the Pacific Ocean side of the Baja Peninsula.
Why do I like this beach so much? Well there’s one story in particular….
It was my last rotation on the National Geographic Sea Lion, sailing as the assistant engineer. We were in shipyard, in Alameda, California and it was the last day. It was also Thanksgiving Day, and it was the absolute last day we could leave to make it down to Herradura, Costa Rica in time for the first trip of the season. That morning we got the bad news. Twenty five to thirty foot seas just outside of the Golden Gate bridge, and it was going to be like that all the way down past San Diego. We had no choice, we had to go. At least it would be a following sea, not nearly as bad as going the opposite way and pounding through the crests.
We made our preparations, tied down everything that was loose and went in to dinner before leaving. The Chef had made us an amazing dinner, and everyone from the just about whole company was there. The only problem was that we couldn’t afford to eat a heavy meal, because we all knew it would just make getting sea sick come that much easier soon.
As we motored under the Golden Gate we proceeded to get a serious dose of getting pounded. Just as promised, it lasted well past San Diego and on into Baja. At one point, being the crazy lunatic that I am, I fought my way up to the top deck on the ship, or the Lido Deck, and stood there in awe as I looked UP at the tops of waves above the ship. It was truly one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen. Luckily, because it was a following sea, it just pushed us along, even faster than we would normally be able to move.
Because of this we were ahead of schedule, and that is when I fell in love with Sand Dollar Beach. Captain Graves decided that we deserved to have a little break from the horrible seas, so we ducked into la Entrada and weighed anchor just off of Sand Dollar beach. Captain then said to everyone, “You have 12 hours before we have to get out of here, I’d recommend you all go ashore and……” then there was silence. Everyone was gone, and that’s where I got my fond memory.