Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Landfall at Pebble Beach -- 2006

Weather interrupts our passage from Juan de Fuca to San Diego and we find ourselves anchored just beyond the kelp in the wealthy shadow of the Pebble Beach golf course.  Coming off the sea, one never knows how the natives will react.  Familiar with how they guard the beaches on Long Island, we half expect a greeting of dimpled artillery launched from the 7th hole – we’re well within range.  But a swimmer on a surfboard, elderly and fit, assures us that we can safely go ashore and even (carefully) walk the links.  So we do, landing at the Stillwater Yacht Club and entering a world as foreign to us as a Mexican fishing camp on the Baja.  Our ragged shore party soon finds itself among people like we’ve never seen before: women – thin and exquisite, glowing with a moonlight pallor that is almost frightening; and men (equally exquisite) – coiffed, manicured, and perfumed, their faces lit orange by artificial tans.  As we wander the grounds and marvel at the price of T-shirts in the pro shop, the faces are welcoming and pretend not to notice our faded clothes, gritty fingernails, and dearth of fashion accessories.  Our walk to Carmel along 17-Mile-Drive, a road wholly unsuited to pedestrians, takes us past houses with names – Wit’s End, Pinewood Edge, Lucky Strike  –  and we witness a parade of fenders and chrome as impressive as the diamonds in the resort’s gift shop.  We pick up the Carmel Pine Cone and read the police blotter for light entertainment (we’re used to Baltimore). Back at The Lodge, the doorman invites us in to peek at a wedding; on the lawn we see the happy couple exchanging vows with our boat, Momo, perfectly at ease in the background.  Later, aboard another boat, we meet a resident who offers the use of his Mercedes SUV so we can tour the landscape.  We decline the offer, but change our minds the next day, only to learn that he’s left for his Nevada ranch with his dogs.  When we leave Pebble Beach, we take with us an unexpected fondness for this place, and steel ourselves for San Diego.

(This ditty appeared in Sail, March 2010)