After receiving an email recently from someone I follow, I felt compelled to dust off a post that I have had sitting around for some time and present you with a “blast from the past”, Dana Point in a different light.
I doubt you will see any travel advertisements portraying this beachside city in the gray light of a foggy day but sometimes our travel plans present us with one of Mother Nature’s less than sunny moods, and this day was one of those. I decided to go with the flow and for me there has always been something very soothing about being near the ocean when the fog has laid down a quieting blanket of white, muffling all but the pounding surf and squawking shorebirds.
Dana Point, sitting halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, covers a total area of roughly 30 miles, 7 of those being land and 23 being water. All things revolving around water draw visitors to this beachside resort city: romantic walks on beautiful sandy beaches, tide pools teaming with all sorts of fascinating ocean creatures, deep-sea fishing adventures, some of the best surfing around, and a beautiful harbor housing two marinas, 2500 boats, and 30 boutique shops.
On the land side, 23 beautifully manicured parks dot the city, many with views of the ocean and a three-mile public trail system that link together all those contained within the headlands.
This city boasts the title of “Whale Capital of the West” because of the many types of whales that use this point as a navigational landmark for their migrations north and south. I decided to head to the Ocean Institute that sits in the harbor to see what I could learn.
The Ocean Institute, founded in 1977, is a non-profit dedicated to ocean awareness and preservation. It serves 135,000 students annually and is open to the public on the weekends. It is a blending of museum, small aquarium, and ocean classroom labs, with interactive stations and holding tanks of indigenous ocean species spread throughout its buildings.
You can watch the feeding of an octopus, dissect a squid, examine sea life under a microscope, or educate yourself on the life cycle of a jellyfish. Step outside and tour The Pilgrim, a replica of a hide brig, or hop on a charter boat for a whale-watching adventure.
While fixating on the jellyfish tanks I saw someone who looked vaguely familiar but, having his back to me, I wasn’t sure. Does this young man resemble someone you may know?
Click here to learn the identity of this mystery man. Did you guess correctly? Come on, be honest. 😉
Actually, this was a planned meeting and this young blogger has the same warm, playful spirit that shines through in his posts, not to mention the wicked good photographs he takes! One of the first posts of his that I read was one in which he took a road trip and brought along his mother, grandmother, and uncle. He reeled me in after that and I have followed him ever since (not stalking, mind you!). Lucky me to have the chance to spend a few hours with the infamous Rommel of The Sophomore Slump. 🙂
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45 thoughts on “A Different Mood in Dana Point, CA”
I guessed the young man, Rommel. I follow him too and he indeed is famous in the blogosphere.
I have not heard of Dana Point and thank you for taking us there. Walk on a sandy beach! thats where we are now in AL.
Very good Mona. He spoke highly of you when we met. 🙂
Really? Hope to meet him someday too.
I’m sure he would like that very much.
Not in the near future, but that can be arranged.
I would love to see whales. The closest I have is Wales 😆
Very good Alastair. 🙂
When we lived in Southbroom on the South coast of South Africa.. we had the southern right whales pass our shores every year… it was so great to see them performing just off shore.. even had one calf close by where the dolphins aided the calf out of the surf where the mother could not get to it… wonderful post… love the Octopus, looks a real biggie…
Whales are such fascinating creatures. The diversity of wildlife you see in your part of the world seems truly astounding. How privileged you are to live in such a beautiful area. 🙂
Hi LuAnn and Terry, A great blast from the past. I used to take my fifth and sixth grade students to the Ocean Institute each year for the wonderful hands on experiences they really enjoyed. Also camp hosted one season at Doheny State Beach and watched the whales swim by. Amazing experience. Thanks for the memories. Rog and Gayl
My pleasure. What a great experience for children. Hope you are both doing well.
What a lovely beach. I love how you take me to places I’ve never been (but would love to see!)
My pleasure. 🙂
Beach time foggy sunny doesn’t matter love it anytime!!! Thanks for sharing this beautiful spot!
I so agree with you Laurie. 🙂
I didn’t identify the guy correctly, but I do love his blog. What magnificent photos he takes.
I think the octopus is one of the ugliest creatures I have ever seen. But only God would make something this ugly so lovable.
He is a rather strange looking creature but it was fascinating to watch him creep through this tube from one tank to another, awaiting feeding.
I’m glad to learn about Dana Point. I’ve been to many spots along that very coast but this is new to me. Foggy or not, it looks like a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for sharing.
It is even lovelier when the sun is shining!
Dana Point looks amazing LuAnn ~ this is a great post —so love the shot of the seagulls in flight! Looks like a wonderful – romantic and timeless place to visit… Thanks for the link to Rommel too ~ fun touch there 🙂 Much Love dear friend … ~ RL
Thanks Robyn. I had one photo of him face-on but, to me, his expression looked like “get that camera out of my face” (lol) so I decided to go this route instead. Hope all is continuing to go well for you.
I enjoyed the infor about Dana Point..and the new blogger to follow 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂
My pleasure. Thanks for the comment. 🙂
You did such a beautiful job describing the mood…..I envisioned I was there on a foggy beach. Reminded me of times at Lake Superior. Is your meandering almost coming to an end?
Sadly it will be soon, and I’m sure you can relate. Although we are looking forward to this next phase, we know we will have to get away occasionally. We nomads cannot be tamed! 🙂
The rain cannot tame the enthusiasm with which you describe a place. I hope to be America for a while soon so maybe i will see some of these wonderful palces you have been (minus the rain hopefully).
Hopefully you can visit. I would love to hear where you go.
I have a specific area in mind but until confirmation and tickets and all that, I shall keep it under my hat…I like to give a bit of drama to peoples lives.
There’s that mystery again! 😉
I aim to please with my consistency.
Okay, ignoring the octopus–tried a “gourmet” appetizer only once, never again–but all the other pictures are stunning in their calm beauty, Luann.
Thanks Marylin. 🙂
Wonderful photographs, LuAnn they definitely speak to the soul, the first three so calm and serene. The remainder of your post and your time with Rommel, superb! 🙂
Thanks Penny 🙂
I guessed right 🙂
Love the ‘birds gone wild’ and the Octopus, and oh yes that vibrant yellow flower!
Glad to hear you guessed who the mystery man was. He is as charming in person as he is when reading his posts. 🙂
I think the photos are beautiful LuAnn!
Thanks Nicole. 🙂
I can’t believe I miss your posts from my Reader since 3/10, am so not happy about that :l
Beautiful shorebirds and the sailboat!
Well hello there, Mystery Man. Oh LuAnn, how I miss you and your blog. Thanks making a star of me here. Will get to my version in the future.
It is so good to have you back. Many of us were concerned about you. Hope all is well in your life. 🙂
Thanks for the post Rommel! I loved getting the chance to meet you! 🙂