Walking the “Sea Glass Festival”

Pitted, frosted, opaque and weathered. Bottles clash with the ocean – the waves always win. But I also take a prize today – a walk that isn’t what I expect or plan, but what life brings as a gift of happenstance.

The Sea Glass Festival is a spectacular weekend of sea glass-inspired art, music, food and fun that appears like the magical mermaids it celebrates every March in Cayucos, Ca. Just 4 miles north from my house along Highway 1 in Central California, it’s a perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon. But there won’t be much walking, and since a welcome storm is coming tomorrow, I should combine my usual daily walk with the festival visit, because I may be house-bound for several days of rain-rain-rain. Visit Estero Bluffs State Park on the way? Yes, please.

It’s a beautiful and short drive. The bluffs of Estero Bay are familiar places, where shipwrecks, walks and wildlife entertain us creatures fortunate enough to visit. I choose to begin at the northern-most point of the State Park, a place I have never walked before. The park follows the coast for over 7 miles, with a tangle of pathways, and my walks have always covered the trails closest to home.

With hillsides lagging behind in the usual intense green of March, I am glad for rain, but glad also for today’s sun. I can get out, stretch my legs, and enjoy the spectacular weather before tomorrow’s storm. I park the car and walk west.

Stubby green spikes peek out from the winter cover of dried grass on each side of the path. A break in the fence allows me onto the trails that zig and zag toward the edge of the bluffs. I look ahead to the ocean, a ribbon of tourquoise, then dark and brilliant green and finally a dull silver, the depth of the water and the rows of seaweed making water-colored changes in what I see.

I see also a black something, in the far distance from my first steps onto the path. It rises up from the water and slides back down. Fin? Tail? I decide the dolphins are swimming en masse today, and follow the quickest path to the land’s edge. I want to see the dolphin spectacle – a stunning dance of togetherness and talent. I quicken my pace.

But the dolphins – or whatever else might be in the ocean, black formed and reaching up from the water – disappear, heading north. I follow.

A fence keeps me from walking down to the beach. This is Snowy Plover territory and it is their breeding season. Tiny birds that live and reproduce at the water’s edge, California protects them from the likes of me while they go about increasing their numbers. Since I enjoy seeing their popcorn puffs on the beach and their thousand flashes of white into the sky, I am happy to give them space now, as they will give me a show come autumn.

I walk past the Snowy Plover homesite and arrive at the walking beach. This long, curving stretch reaches toward a rocky cliff that ends Estero Bluffs State Beach. A slow-moving seal rolls in the waves two lines of surf from me. Toward the rocks at the end of the beach, I spot three sea otters, laying on their backs to eat their meals off their stomachs. Cormorants dive into the waters and plop back out with their catch. Idyllic? Yes.

My eye is drawn out farther into the water. The black fin or tail or something rises out momentarily, between the dark green, the sea weed and the silver. Too quick to distinguish, some other sea creature teases me.

I turn my view to the beach itself. A flash of color pulls my attention to the sand. Then another. And again. Since all my home decorating involves such finds, I am engaged for hours, walking a peaceful beach and collecting the leftover of man-made glass fragments, sanded against the grindstone of the ocean and replaced on this beach, blinking against today’s sun and beckoning me to reach. Into my hand, time and again, come rounded, pitted, faintly-colored bits of yesterday’s bottles. I have found my Sea Glass Festival.

It’s not the one I intended, but as the afternoon passes and I am not ready to leave the beach, I realize next year will be soon enough to attend the people festival. Today is for me, the beach and the ocean.

I walk back to the car, marveling at the catch in my hand. I start the engine, look up and see the spouts of two whales, finally admitting to me that it was them, all afternoon long, teasing me from behind that line of tourquiose water.


Please join the Monday Walk with RestlessJo and friends:




35 Replies to “Walking the “Sea Glass Festival””

  1. When my family and I were in Cabo last year, my Aunt and I walked along the beaches each day searching for sea glass. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Great post!


  2. I always enjoy looking for sea glass on my beach walks and have a glass filled with various colors of ocean jewels. How fun to join you on your walk and picture in my mind all the creatures in, around and about the ocean. You have a way of describing your walks so that I feel like I’m right beside you! Anita


    1. Anabel – now I feel guilty for mentioning the rain, because our type of rain is pure joy, usually warmer than the surrounding days, and always with beautiful sunsets. And, then there is the resulting green on the hillsides. Shame on me. ;))


  3. What a tease, those whales! Enjoying life in the ocean. 🙂 🙂 Amusing because we took a bitingly cold walk along our seafront this morning and there, waiting for the main event, a pedestal upon which to display a seaglass wave. Made locally, for a light installation show in Durham a couple of years ago, it is finally coming home.
    Many thanks for another lovely link up. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank those generations of beer drinking teenagers at night on the beach for “seeding” the bottles for today’s sea-glass (plastic soda bottles, shall never replace sea-glass). Cuz-O


    1. Hurray for beer bottles. But I am concerned for future generations of sea-glass collecters, since no one is trashing the beach anymore. 😉 I am still trying to figure out what the beautiful almost-clear almost-blue glass fragments come from.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Snooty neuvo-riche drinking Resling at beach picnics? Or, those blue Pepto-bismal bottles after they ate too many clams at the clam bake on the beach, which drinking that too-sweet Resling… Cuz-O (P.S. I know only of such blue glass from commercials, not personal experience, not identifying with such cultural trends).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think people are still drinnnnnking all that stuff, I just don’t think they are littering as much (thank goodness!) PS – I think our grandparents would have been very happy to find those blue bottles somewhere out in the desert 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. That was both a beautiful and interesting walk, Susan! Sea glass is beautiful in the hands of skillful decorators 🙂 I got a sea glass wind chime for my birthday. Its sound is very muted, quite enjoyable, and it is very decorative.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, you should! Mine has three twines/cords with the sea glass pieces tied in at about 3-4 inch intervals hanging from a sturdy twig…love it.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Like this post, glass tumbled by the ocean is fascinating. I found some power line porcelain insurlaters sculptured by the sea.One still survives in the garden. It is sad that plastic is detrimental to the sea creatures and will not do the same as glass.🙏


    1. Jack – I’ve had the same notion about plastics – If you think up something, let me know. Meanwhile, I keep stuffing my pockets full with plastic left-overs whenever I walk on the beach (well, not usually full, since people around here are pretty good at using trash cans 😉 ) Thanks for stopping by

      Liked by 1 person

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