Water girl

July 20, 2009

Me at Stinson, about 7 years old

I need to be close to the coast.  I can’t even imagine what it would be like to live in the middle of a lot of land.  South Dakota. Nebraska.  Even Colorado.  Somehow it just feels wrong, just too far from the edge.

Some of my family lives in Florida.  I’ve visited, and can never get used to the sun rising over water and setting over land.  I’m just a West coast girl, and the sun needs to set over the water, ok? I spent three weeks on the East side of Baja once and couldn’t get oriented the whole time.


Stinson Beach

I was raised in San Francisco, middle daughter of three girls.  Both my parents loved the water, and all of us were swimming like fish by two years old. When we were little summers were spent mostly at “the club”, a tennis and swimming club north of the city.  (Watch me, mama, watch me!)  When I was about 6 my parents built a house at Stinson Beach, at Seadrift, a private community on a kind of peninsula.


Me, late 70’s, Stinson Beach

Wow, we had some adventures there.  I could tell some stories, for sure.  Lighting fires in the salt grass. (don’t worry, they went out)  Playing games that involved rabbit pooh “surprises.” (Didn’t you ever play “open your mouth and close your eyes and I will give you a big surprise?”)  A frantic rescue (by my dad) of Johnny the neighbor and I who had helped ourselves to a plastic dingy that was on the beach and were heading out of Bodega Bay on the tide. An encounter with a sea lion while drifting along on my rubber raft.


Me, 1980’s, Pacific Palisades, where my dad lived.

When I moved to Washington State and got married (yes I skipped a huge bunch of chapters here) I lived for about 5 years at Bay Center.  It’s a tiny community right on the water, with oysters and hunting being the main life sustaining enterprises.  Oh, and also sturgeon.  They would hang them like washing on a line behind the local tavern, and sell the dried meat like jerky.  In Bay Center we lived right on the water.  The tide went out for almost a mile and the sand would heat up with the sun…when the water came in it was like bathwater.  An incredible place to live  where most of the waters are ice cold.  I am so glad the kids had their preschool years there.


Son Adam with his “surfboard” in the San Juans, around 1990

Fast forward the kids and I living in Seattle in the late 70’s.  We’d go to the San Juan islands or  Kalaloch on the Olympic Peninsula whenever we could.  One time I walked the beach in the early morning at Kalaloch and found the most amazing Japanese glass ball. (below)  I left it by the pond at our place on the Key Peninsula when we moved to Mexico.


Me with the glass ball I found with the Kalaloch Lodge in the background, around 1986

So all these thoughts came to me tonight as I was lying in the chaise lounge upstairs listening to the muted trumpet playing and watching the sun go down.  The cloud in front of me changed from gold underside to pink to grey.  Then the underneath part of the whole sky changed to pink.  We can’t see the water from here but we are about 4 blocks in and you really feel the proximity to the ocean even when you sit and look up at the sky.  Five frigate birds rotated slowly for a long time…then I blinked, and they were gone.


My home, Mazatlán

I love living by the ocean.  I think it must be in my blood.

More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

    1. Wow, Nancy, your pictures take me back. I also grew up in the Bay Area – east bay, concord/walnut creek. In the summers, when it was hotter than hell, we would go to Stinson Beach to cool off. I remember going in the water (which was quite cold, of course) and having a blast. It’s quite a beautiful spot. A few years ago I read a book called “The Devils’ Teeth”, about the Farrallones and the great white shark colony that lives out there. I had no idea that Stinson Beach is also the site of great white shark gatherings…part of a triangle that goes from the Farrallones to Stinson and south to somnewhere around Pacifica.

      Great pix and memories!

    1. Great post. When people ask me why I do not live in the central highlands, I just may direct them to your post. You have said it all.

    1. Great post.

      While I’m not on the coast, I love where I am in MX. Are we not the luckiest people around?

    1. Fun post, Nancy. We also lived in Stinson Beach and my kids graduated from Tamalpais High. We had the big octagonal house on the side of the hill. I can’t remember the street name now, (started with an “s”)but it was great living there. Felt free and fresh. I feel the same about water, ocean, lake, rivers..there is something about the constant movement that relaxes and comforts me. Just had my first email from my son, who just moved to Adelaide, Australia…more water.

    1. I feel the same about living near water. Most people do, probably, which is why we pay premium prices for land on the coast, near lakes or even near rivers. But the Pacific, that’s the queen of all waters. We live a stone’s throw from the water, but can only see a little sliver of it, thanks to the condos. It’s one of the things on my gratitude list, that I live by the sea.

    1. Neil, That’s really cool! It’s amazing to me how many people know and love Stinson.

      Steve, No getting off the hook that easily, you have to say it your own way.

      Billie, I cannot believe how lucky I am. I love my life.

      Zoe, That’s funny! For the longest time we were “the last house on the spit.”

      1st. Mate, Your gratitude list, I like that. And yes, proximity to the ocean would be right near the top.

      Paul, Awwwwww. Those are my favorite pictures of myself, funny how they all link to the water. Come back soon.

    1. I’m a Pacific girl myself, born and raised on the beach in Santa Barbara and then my working life in San Francisco and Marin. It is very disorienting to have the sun not go down over the water, I still haven’t adjusted to that. Sunrise on the Caribbean (that sounds like a drink with paper parasols) is pretty spectacular though, I just don’t get up to see it so much. This time of year the sun sets over the Gulf here and I have seen that a few times and it feels ‘right’. Love Stinson, many happy days there.

    1. Jonna, I should know better than to make a comment and hit enter without checking to see if I am logged out. (what is up with that, wordpress?) ANyway, it ate my whole long comment, I will write again tomorrow when I’m not irritated about it.


    1. Nancy, I am glad to know that Keith and I are not the only Pacific lovers out there. We have tried and tried to get used to the sun rising over the water and we cannot. I like it for a vacation, I just cannot live there. It is more than the sun setting. I cannot describe the feelings that go along with it. Disorientation is one but it is also a longing for something that is just not there. so strangly different that I cannot firure it out. So with that, Keith and I have limited our research to the West coast of Mexico only. Once we get settled, we will venture over to the other side.

    1. I’m so with you! I grew up on the Great Lakes and cannot imagine not being near water. Whenever I am “inland”, my body freaks out, I need the pull of the water!

      Thanks for sharing your story and photos, fun journey.

    1. Nancy, I love your story and feel the same way. I was confused in Florida. I loved hearing about your life too. I’m a fish out of water anywhere but the west coast of anything! Love the pictures too.

    1. Thanks for the back story. I miss you all.

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