As you recall, on the final days of the year 02, the Capn and first mate and cabin girl were embarked on a grand mission in search of the perfect beach. Thanks to help of Ensign Doe (that's him on the left), our man at the helm at club headquarers, I was able to post dispatches straight from the quest. Due to fluctuations of the ether I couldn't transmit pictures. Now that I am back, safe and somewhat sound of mind, I've finished the whole story, complete with graphics.

-- Capn Skyp


by Capn Skyp
aka Ken Babbs

SKYPILOTDATE: Tuesday, December 31, 2002.
Santa Monica, California and points south

New Years Eve. We are running out of time. Supposed to be searching for the perfect beach and haven't gotten any farther away from the motel than Venice Beach. Today we are heading out.

"There's a big cloud bank out there. Doesn't look too promising. It's thicker down south but we're going anyway."

And the weather gets more grundgy as we hit the beaches in succesion: Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach. we skip Long Beach and get off the road at Huntington Beach. Wind is whipping across the sand. The clouds are thicker than ever. This is bad. And even worse is what has happened to Huntington Beach. Once a funky little surfer burg it is now all condominiums and the buildup continues all the way through Newport Beach.

A little of an open area between Newport and Laguna, then into the new bigger, more crowded Laguna Beach.

The beach in downtown Laguna. Dark and cold and empty. We decide to backtrack to the north end of town where we saw something promising.

Are hopes high? Our hopes are high. The sky is clearing. It is a hike down from the bluff to the beach. Tide is out. Tide pools all around. Beautiful sand. Could this be it? The perfect beach? Time to explore. Take notes. Take pictures.


Ah, mussels, my favorite beach food. Who says you can't eat them raw? Wife and daughter are amused. You can't eat them raw.


A golden eagle hangs overhead, soaring on the wind. He is ready to swoop. "He isn't getting me," Liz says, and takes shelter in a rock cave. The eagle is a sign, a good omen. This ices it. We have found the perfect beach. It is Scotsman Cove. Surprises around every corner. Miles to walk. Treasures on the high tide line. We spend the rest of the afternoon exploring.

"Onward," she directs. "Onward to something to eat." And we hike up the path and get in the car and head out. Nothing in Laguna looks good so we keep going, all the way to San Clemente, out to the pier, where we find fresh oysters and cooked fish and walk out on the pier as the sun goes down.

The last sunset of 2002, and a beauty, with the clouds diffusing the rays and sending a red and orange glow across the sky.

So long, sunset. So long, San Clemente. A long liesurely ride back to Santa Monica, to the motel, to fireworks in the sky, to midnight sirens and whistles, to a new year.

SKYPILOTDATE: Wednesday, January 1, 2003
On the beach again

It's a happy new year, a slap happy new year, bursting bright and sunny and warm and inviting all the citizens out of their denizens to do outside shenanigans. Little did we expect an outpouring of new year's greeting, for lo and behold, in an explosive upwelling a gorgeous waterspout sprang up in front of an apartment building and cascaded like old faithful erupting in beachfront Santa Monica.


A crowd quickly gathers. They exhort the Capn to get under the spout, but he won't do it.


A car obliges. Free SUV car wash. Then a guy on a motorcycle zooms through. The show is getting better all the time.


Responding to the challenge a young guy dashes into the spray, spins round and round and goes dashing out. Then the big guns arrive. A firetruck rounds the corner, pulls up to the intersection and the firemen pile out and put on their slickers, ready to shut down the spout.


First thing, dig the cover off the streeet, get at the valve that will turn off the water. Get a handle on this thing. Turn and turn and turn but it doesn't work; the spout spouts on and the crowd cheers for the spout while exhorting the firemen. Ambivalence reigns.


Two firemen take the plunge. Go under the spout with a canvas over them to take the brunt of the blow. It is too fierce. They can't find the right cover, the correct valve. So the firetruck backs up over the spout and absorbs the flow.


Ah, success at last. Correct valve shut off, spout shut down, desultory clapping from the crowd and everyone drifts off into more New Year's fun, leaving behind one kid and the culprit hydrant, sheered off by a passing car, a hit and run job for sure.

So much water poured out and ran down the hill it flooded the chess park and gouged a big ditch in the sand all the way to the ocean.

A capping finish to the trip, to the search. The perfect beach was found. The weather cooperated. Now to face those security devices at the airport and don't let the newspapers and the TV commentators fool you. It is a pain in the buttsky but at this point we are like everyone else. Get it over with so we can go home.

the end

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