Towards Y2K9 (12): Fog Treasures


 
When the cold Pacific water meets the warm California mainland, the result is fog. When we came down from Oregon to California, we started to notice that the mornings were overcast and cold, often for several hours until the sun came through.


 
Our first night in California (in Crescent City at the north end of the Redwood National Forest) was accompanied by a foghorn that hooted every 10 seconds … all the night through. It was one of the few situations where I was happy about the fact that my hearing gets notably worse with my age!

Here are some minutes of the foghorn. The hiss between consists of the ocean surf and some nightly traffic, both somewhat distant from our motel room. The foghorn was maybe a mile away. There are also some bells, their ringing seemed to also come from the direction of the foghorn:

      CrescentCityFoghorn

 
While the fog was not so nice for us human tourists, it is one of the factors that enable the rich biodiversity in this area, e.g. the wonderful redwood trees love fog, and they need it especially at the times of the year when there is little or no rain.


 
The coastal area west of the redwood forests contains a large variety of lagoons … some of them were inhabited by people, others – the more remote ones – by animals such as this seal.


 
One of the places that we visited was called “Dry Lagoon” – that triggered my curiosity. A long narrow winding road through wilderness led to it and we thought we would be alone, but the parking lot next to the beach (which was next to the dry lagoon) was full of cars, to our surprise. That many visitors, on a cold foggy day like this?


 
Part of the beach visitors consisted of surfers – amazing how they managed to move in the ice cold grey waves. We stayed for a while, watching them. It must be fun to be able to ride a wave like this – so much fun that it is worth waiting for a good wave, often for quite a long time.


 
Also, there were surprisingly many people walking along the beach, some of them with rods in their hands – they used them to pick up stones from the ground. I asked them about it and they told me that they were looking for agates – semi-precious stones that can be found on the beach especially on a rough day like this. They showed me what they had found so far – not all of the small stones looked very impressive to me but apparently they become quite beautiful when polished.

We started looking for nice stones too after this and found lots of them, most probably not being agates, but beautiful nonetheless. Good thing that we can’t take them with us on the plane! Our suitcases are more than full already.


 
We loved this place with its high grey waves, the colorful stones, and the tree logs that covered the beach like dead dinosaurs … especially in the fog which made it all seem more surreal.

What My Feet Hear Barefoot On The Beach

After many attempts to find a sunny weekend where both of us had time for a few days of vacation, we finally made it to Holland and had a wonderful long weekend. The hotel room in Camperduin-an-Zee was great and we had an amazing view of the landscape behind the embankment.


 
The end-of-August weather was hot enough to lie on the beach and take a swim or two in the cool North Sea! In the evening when most people had gone home the beach looked like this.


 
Here are the sounds of the gentle surf, recorded underwater:

      northhollandsurfhydrophone

And here’s the sound of sand, recorded by my hydrophone which was plugged a few centimeters into the beach sand. I was surprised at how far the sand transports sound. I moved it around, squeezed and threw it, and there are also some steps of people passing by. This is the sound that my feet hear when I walk the beach barefoot:

      camperduin_sand

After swimming and sunbathing at the beach, a coffee and an apple pie in one of the typical wooden beach restaurants is usually the next destination.


 
The next day was a little cooler and perfect for a visit in the nearby town of Alkmaar which is famous for its cheese museum and the historic cheese market staged there every Friday. We weren’t entirely sure if they actually still traded cheese there or if it was just a tourism event. Anyway here’s what it sounded like, accompanied by the carillon of a nearby church.

      alkmaar_cheesemarket

 
Sabine spent a while in a pearl shop, choosing a number of little black/white beauties for a necklace. While we marvelled at the multitude of designs, I noticed that they also sounded different, and interesting, so I recorded a few minutes of the shop atmosphere, and the various sounds of the different materials. Maybe they will eventually end up in some kind of composition.

      alkmaar_pearlshop


 
A typical Dutch item is the windmill, and Alkmaar has several of them. A large windmill near the city center has been off duty for a few years now, and can be visited. Looking at such a windmill in a postcard landscape is pastoral – climbing into it and being very close to the wheels and rotating wings is something else altogether – the feeling of power and speed is quite awe inspiring. Here’s a little video I made – one has to see this in motion to get a feel of it.


 
At home, we live in a hilly area which is too steep to ride a bike for fun so we hadn’t been on a bicycle for years. What fun we had doing it again! Biking through the colorful dune landscape was like a dream. What a great invention a bicycle is!


 
Of course I had to videotape a minute or two while riding … which was a little dangerous on the sandy ground, but I managed not to crash-land.


 
After the bicycle ride, highest on our priority list was the giant ginger pancake at the Duinvermaak restaurant in Bergen. And a coffee. Good thing that we don’t have this at home – once a year is enough.