The Princess of Tides

A pelican peloton.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to teach a class on structuring exotic transactions in the bond market at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. This was before we decided to move to Florida, so we were delighted to have the time to spend on the beach. If you have never been to Pepperdine, the campus is absolutely breathtaking, nestled in the cliffs above the sea.

The last day we were in Malibu, we did not want to say goodbye to the ocean. So we walked for miles from Malibu to Santa Monica to Venice Beach, playing in the surf the entire way. We finally arrived at LAX to catch our flight home soaking wet. Incidentally, we learned that the rule that you cannot take outside liquids onto airlines applies to your clothes as well. If you show up to the airport with wet clothes – even with such an innocent explanation as you we were getting one last frolic in on the beaches in Southern California – you will be subjected to all kinds of new layers of security precautions. Not to mention a lot of angry stares from your fellow travelers for holding up the TSA queue.

We did something similar this morning. We frequently go on walks along the Intracoastal Waterway or through the various estuaries here in the mornings. Today we happened to make it out to the beach at low tide. The sand was packed down, making it easy to walk for a long distance, and the low tide had revealed countless treasures for E to examine.

We walked for over six miles from the pier to the southern border of our beach town and back again. E spent about half of that walking in the water on top of a sandbar, picking out crabs and chasing small fish making their way through the shallows. She found a fully intact crab shell, which was useful since we had just finished talking about different types of skeletal structures in science. (“Look, Mommy, I found an exoskeleton!”) We also saw about 40 sea turtle nests, which was happy.

We made it back to the pier just before today’s round of thunderstorms moved in and the water was rushing back in, forcing us to move slowly over the powdery sand (which I do not enjoy at all). It has made me want to pay attention to the tables of tides they publish here, and try to make it out there during as many low tides as possible.

Every time I think about tides, I am reminded of something thoughtful E said when we moved here. “Who owns the ocean, Mommy?” she asked. “All the people of the world share the oceans,” I replied. “No, you are wrong,” she said. “The Moon owns the ocean.” How a young child thinks of tides.

It is endlessly entertaining how much E loves the ocean. You can take her out there fully clothed (i.e. not in a swimsuit) and she’s five minutes away from laying down in the water and letting the waves break over her face. I’ve given up trying to keep her clean or dry. She was born for this place.

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