I sometimes get out my stand up paddle board. Yesterday I took a three hour trip up the coast north of Santa Cruz. It’s an area of cliffs with small pocket beaches. Above the cliffs are large areas of undeveloped land, state parks or farms so no people. It’s just outside the Monterey Bay so wild open ocean filled with wildlife. There are many seaweed patches on the ocean just like big rugs and I like to paddle from one to the next. Some are very large so I will stop, sit on my board and observe. Yesterday the fog came in so visibility was about 100 yards. It made it a bit unnerving not being able to see the cliffs but also cast a magical hue. I judged my distance to them by the sound of crashing waves and the incoming swell. As I sat in one patch there was a family of sea otters floating not far away. They wrap themselves in seaweed and use its buoyancy to help stay afloat. They kept looking at me and I told them they were in my book. They didn’t seem to care and proceeded with their business. The ocean water was amazingly clear as I paddled to the next patch a few hundred yards away. The color was an unusual aqua due to a photo plankton active in the unusually warm water. As I stared down there were thousands of silvery sardines under my board. The flashing silver was wonderful to watch as were the dive bombing birds having a feast. At the next seaweed patch a seal popped up to check me out. I talked to him and told him the book was out. He didn’t seem to care but kept popping up in various place to see what I was doing. Today I’m resting up as I’m not 50 anymore and need to get ready to go again on Saturday with a couple of friends. One thing I learned on this paddle, by watching the animals, is that it’s natural and normal to just exist in your environment. That lesson has made me feel quite comfortable today as I work around my place and catch a nap with the dog.