Walking Port San Luis Pier

Golden arms of seaweed wave in the lazy current of San Luis Obispo Bay. The waters turn from opaque moss green to shining turquoise and several shades between as the clouds and the sun do their daily trick of minute-to-minute change. Warm up two degrees with the sun, cool down one degree with the clouds. A bit of breeze refreshes us walkers for two minutes, then eases off to let the sun dominate.

I am walking the Port San Luis Pier. It’s a good thing that the distance is short. Today, the calm of the weather, the pleasant warm-and-cool feel of the air, the fresh of the breeze and the slow bake of the sun, all blend to make me lethargic. Shouldn’t every day be like this? Wait. This is the Central California Coast. Each day *is* like this.

Such weather might persuade residents to feel entitled to every-day perfection. All we ever get here is the push-pull of 65 degrees F against 70 degrees F. What did we do to deserve this weather bliss? Nothing. It is ours not because we are clever people or thoughtful or smart. All we did was manage to live here, in weathered perfection.

Summer heat from other places drives people away from their homes. Carloads and van-fulls and buses bring vacationers by the hundreds dailyΒ to this pier. Even though I am not from those places of hottest summertimes any longer, I join in with the crowd today, stay-cationing 40 minutes from my home. We visitors walk and bike down the pier and kayak around the pier supports. We stop by the dozens, leaning against the guardrails, to enjoy the sprayed water of a pelican landing, and the splash of a seal diving from a platform into the light-hearted waves.

A sea lion wakes up, disturbed by the seal’s dive or by the plunking down of another sea lion right on top of the first. The yelp is loud and we humans hear the complaint of the sound and we empathize with the sea lion. Who wants to be woken up in the middle of a nice summer’s sleep, interrupting the soothing mist and warm sun? A clamour sets up and a domino of sea lion voices rolls up and down the platform. We vacationers laugh and remark that the sea lions are not so different from us.

A fishing boat whose home port is where I live, just north up the coast, pulls away from the pier. Too late, I wonder what kind of fish they have sold to the fish markets here. The boat looks old, but tidy. I mourn the lost adventure of watching the catch lifted onto the pier, and the skill of how that is done. But, I am still in a haze of laziness, and glad that I didn’t have to expend even the energy to watch such a demanding physical task.

The seal that had dived into the water swims alongside the fishing boat, arching up from the waves, watching for handouts. When no leftover fish is thrown overboard, the seal jumps completely out of the water, perhaps a last-ditch effort to beg a scrap. The boat moves away, appearing to be in that slow-moving summer haze that has infected us all, except the graceful and fast-moving seal in its artful act of begging.

The wood of the pier itself is a million connected heavy pieces of timber that look like they could withstand long bouts of inclement weather, unlike any they will ever encounter here. My steps are soundless on the enormous planks and I feel nothing that tells the pier of my presence. No rocking, no vibration. So many people walk this pier every day, my footstep has no impact – there will be nothing left for the pier to remember me by.

Individuals and whole family groups gather to fish off the side of the pier. I am tempted to stay and watch, soothed by the contemplative non-activity of fishing. I have always thought of fishing as a philosophical pursuit, maybe because I so rarely wait around to see the catch.

As I come to the end of my walk, returning to the point where the wharf embraces the shoreline, I see a cage where fishers who have been successful come to clean and store away their catch. Not knowing one fish from another, I hear someone say ‘rock cod’ and another wonder if the ‘ocean perch’ are biting. As we walk by a fish-and-chip restaurant a wonderful aroma comes out to tempt us, and – if I wasn’t so lulled by the weather – I might spend a moment pondering a fish’s existence.

But mine today is spent in bliss: one small walk in perfect weather along a pier that takes my footsteps as if they were nothing at all.


Please join the Monday Walk with RestlessJo and friends:

Jo’s Monday walk

31 Replies to “Walking Port San Luis Pier”

  1. You’ve got me! I’m there in that salty haze, with my face lifted to the sun. It’s bliss πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I have to write my response quickly before the lethargy overtakes me. Thank you so much, Susan! Wishing you another, simply sunny day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RJo – sometimes, it’s nice to let that lethargy just take over and enjoy the relaxation πŸ™‚ Right now, there’s a lovely fog, which is settling in a completely different way. I wish you a happy, peaceful day πŸ™‚


    1. Thanks so much, Anabel. I know you’ve traveled extensively in the US, but have you ever been to Central California? It’s a bit left-out of the California scene, but worth a visit. (and I love visitors!) – Susan


      1. Anabel – I know you replied to this, but somehow I managed to delete it 😦 When you do make out your list, put Morro Bay on it, and I will put out a pot of tea for us!


    1. Anita – We may not be here forever, but while we are, I am trying to soak it all in. Every day I am amazed at the comfort of the weather (really, EVERY day). Some people say they miss the seasons, an idea I contemplate as I enjoy the sea mist and the warm sun year-round. I stand on the edge of being smug, but, honestly, I have nothing to do with providing this weather, it just comes! Hope your day is filled with pleasant temps and ease – Susan


    1. Janis – Those sea lions just never disappoint! They always surprise me with how loud and varied their cries are. There had to be two dozen people hanging around, like they were in a movie theater being entertained. Fun stuff πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What lovely day beautifully told. This is the reason I follow your blog! Your wonderful writing engages me from beginning to end. I could just about smell the fish and chips, and was mildly disappointed you didn’t take us on there for a plateful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alison – thank you kindly. I am so happy we’ve connected over this blogging world. Sorry about the fish-and-chips. We hadn’t known about the wonderful aroma beforehand, and planned for a truly spectacular pizza restaurant that puts a tasty salad on top the pizza – tough choices, right? Susan

      Liked by 1 person

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