You will find trip reports for the year 2000 by Lloyd Johnson here.  The most recent reports are at the top.

This page last updated January 3, 2004 by Lloyd Johnson.
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April 2000

May 2000

June 2000

July 2000

August 2000

September 2000

October 2000

November 2000

December 3-17, 2000: Black's Beach

Early December we had generally overcast and cool weather. My abalone cookout day, December 3rd, was one of those cloudy days. I was on the beach from about 9:30-12:00 and finally gave up and left. December 9th was a little better. I was on the beach from about 11:30-3:00. Most days it has been necessary to use a wind screen or reflector to stay warm after 2:00.

This last week has been much warmer. I was at the beach Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday and Saturday were the best. Both those days I was there 9-4. I even swam both days, but I was the only one crazy enough to get in 58 degree water. Wednesday and Sunday I left about 2:00.

Weekdays there have been only a dozen men or so on the beach. This last weekend there were perhaps a hundred people on the beach.

People pitch horseshoes almost every weekend. People play volleyball every weekend, especially in the afternoon and even when it's cloudy and cool.

Parking at the glider port has been very adequate everyday, weekends and weekdays. Parking on the street has been full on weekdays.

There has been improvement in the trail lately. Black's Beach Diggers are bagging the debris from earlier stair sculpting. They are filling sandbags and arranging them into a zigzagging ramp at the bottom.

The water has been cold enough that people only go in with wetsuits or without common sense. That last person would be me. I would describe the water temperature as exhilarating.

If you're planning a trip to Black's in the near future, keep in mind that this time of year we typically get a week of nice weather followed by a week of bad weather. You could pick the wrong week, but you could pick the right week.

November 15, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived about 9:30 and street parking was full. There were plenty of spaces at the glider port. Hiking down I found that somebody had poured a concrete step to anchor the top of the new stairway. Beyond the narrow ravine there is still a treacherous slide.

When I reached the beach, I thought I was the first one there, but I quickly spotted a surfer far to the south and a man far to the north. I sat down and unpacked. Much later a friend arrived and even later a few more.

There were probably no more than a dozen nudists on the whole beach. I don't recall seeing any women.

I swam once and saw a few sting rays, but nothing else. The water was ... refreshing (62?). It was a struggle to go out in that temperature, but once in, I managed to tolerate the temperature and enjoy my swim.

Getting out I was very cold while the wind dried me. I set my reflectors to warm up. It made a difference.

I stayed on the beach under my reflectors until 3:00. At that time is was getting windy and was still warm, but I had to leave before traffic got bad.


November 12, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived about 9:30. There was plenty of parking on the street and at the glider port. I hiked down and was surprised to find that the recent rain had not affected the trail. The bottom of the trail was steeper, without the zigzag. But that was a matter of foot traffic.

I sat with a friend and spent the day soaking up the sun, and even went for a swim. I didn't see anything living underwater. I did see two other men dare the cold water, about 63.

After my swim I opened a reflector that I brought down. It was a jumbo reflector for a car windshield. I set it up and propped it up with a stick. It warmed me up a little bit, and served as a windbreak. Without the windbreak, I would have left about 3:00. As it was I stayed until 4:00.

There were about thirty people on the beach, including the volleyball players, who arrived about 12:00. The volleyball players were still playing when I left, but most of them were wearing shirts to keep warm.

November 8, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived about 9:30. There were no spaces available on the street and the entrance to the glider lot was filled with cars too. Further into the lot there were spaces. This is because UCSD students use the lot too.

I hiked down and again found a few changes in the trail. The stairway hand rails had been painted with red and white, making it very visible. The last stretch of the trail had changed again. It was still a steep slope of soft dirt. I sank in with each step and slid just a little. A little caution will be necessary there until it packs or some sort of stairs are built. It will be different after the rain this weekend though.

I met up with friends and we spent the day soaking up the sun. there were perhaps 20 people on the beach.

I went swimming twice, but I don't think anybody else got in. It was about 65 degrees. I only saw a few sting rays and a few other fish.

About 2:00 we started trying to keep warm despite the wind. By about 3:00 most of us were packed and leaving. I took a picture of a friend on the newly painted stairway, for future use on my web page.

November 4&5, 2000: Black's Beach

Saturday I arrived at the glider port about 11:30. There was plenty of parking on the street and in the lot. I hiked down and found significant changes in the trail. Black's Beach diggers had struck again. The narrowest part of the ravine had been widened and the debris had left a soft slope under it.

I met up with some friends and tried to doze off in the sun. I swam twice. Visibility was good, but the waves were small. I saw a few sting rays and I saw the tail of the leopard shark again. It was in waist deep water again.

There were probably a hundred people on the beach. Volleyball players arrived in the afternoon and were still there when I left at 4:30.

It was sunny most of the day, but the wind was starting to cool the beach about 4:00. I left about 4:30.

Sunday I arrived about 10:00. There was plenty of parking both on the street and in the lot.

It was hopelessly cloudy and cool. Only a die-hard nudist would have hiked down. I hiked down and found many of my friends already on the beach. A few friends never showed up.

There were times of sun and times of clouds, but I was warm enough to be nude the whole time I was there. There were a few dozen people on the beach.

I didn't go in the water and I didn't see anybody go in without a wetsuit.

About 2:00 a big cloud covered the sun and most of us decided that it was all over. We all packed up and left. I noticed the volleyball players were just setting up as we left.

November 3, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived about 11:00 and there was no street parking left. There was plenty of parking at the glider port. The trail down was the same as Monday.

I set my stuff down with some friends. Almost immediately a cloud covered the sun. I decided this was a good time to head north to restock the other bulletin board. On the way there I saw a tall bird in the surf and kicked myself for leaving my camera behind. I think it was some sort of heron.

I restocked the bulletin board and headed south. Then I was a pod of dolphins just a little south of mussel rocks. I kicked myself again. This time for leaving my goggles behind.

Throughout the day I must have seen 50 people on the beach.

By the time I got back to my stuff, the sun was out. I soaked up photons for a while, then went for a swim. The surf was nearly flat, but that made visibility very good. Unfortunately there wasn't much to see. I did see a school of small fish. Some of them were swimming within inches of the surface. Some of them were jumping out of the water.

On my way back to shore I thought I saw a shark tail. I was walking in waist deep water and I didn't see it clearly. Later I went for another swim and I saw two sharks, while in waist deep water. I went underwater looking for the sharks. I snapped a few photos, but I only saw one and it was too quick for me to even look through the view finder.

I swam way out then back. I took my time in the surf and got up close with the shark. I snapped a few more photos, but I still didn't have time to look through the view finder.

As soon as I got back I rinsed off, packed and left. That was about 3:30. It was starting to get cold by then.

I hit light traffic heading south on interstate 5.

November 1, 2000: Black's Beach

There wasn't a cloud in the sky as I headed west for the beach. I arrived about 11:00. Street parking was full, but there were plenty of spaces in the glider port lot. The trail was about the same as Monday.

On the beach I met a few friends and we grew to a small crowd. There were perhaps 30 other people on the beach, very scattered.

The only games I saw was a game of smash ball. I saw a few surfers on the beach and one of my friends went boogie boarding. I went swimming twice. We may have been the only people to get in the water nude.

The water felt very cold getting in, but I got used to it. The temperature must have been in the mid 60s. Visibility was very poor, but I was able to find areas of better visibility. A stingray passed within inches of my face. That was scary.

By 3:00 it was getting windy. The sky was still perfectly clear, but it was getting cold, and I had planned to leave at 3:00 anyway. I packed up and left.

I only hit slow freeway traffic heading south.

October 30, 2000: Black's Beach

The weather was cold and cloudy. I was planning to stay home. Fortunately, a friend called and told me how good the weather was near the coast.

I drove over and arrived about 11:00. There was no parking available on the street. There were plenty of spaces at the glider port lot.

I met my friend and we hiked down. The trail had suffered greatly from erosion. Fortunately, there had been a recent improvement. Someone had built a stairway near the bottom. Also, some of the steps below that had eroded down to a harder surface, leaving a series of well defined steps. Unfortunately, this erosion left a large area of sand covered in mud. We had to take a little care in where we crossed the mud.

In the parking lot I noticed that the lifeguards were doing some exercise in the parking lot. At the beach we could see that two lifeguards were repelling down the cliff.

We picked a spot near the trailhead and spent the day there. The day was partly cloudy, and cold at times. There were only about a dozen other people there.

I went swimming once. The water felt cold getting in, but I was able to swim for a while. Visibility was poor and I only managed to see one animal, swimming away after I startled it, probably a stingray. On the surface I saw a cormorant.

Eventually the cloud cover was lasting longer than the sunny gaps. We were in and out of long sleeve shirts a few times. We were planning to stay until 3:00, but left at 2:30.

October 20-22, 2000: Black's Beach

Friday I arrived about 11:00, found parking on the street and hiked down. I found considerable change in the trail. There had been some excavation to build new steps near the bottom. This left the steps below buried in the debris. The last part of the trail was soft and steep.

I chose a spot on the beach and soaked up photons there for a few hours. There were very few others on the beach. I didn't get in the water any deeper than knee deep.

By 2:00 the sky clouded over and I left.

Saturday it was raining throughout San Diego, so I saw a movie instead of going to Black's

Sunday I was surprised to see a sunny sky, so I rushed to Black's and parked about 11:00. The trail was the same as Friday.

On the beach I found much of the sand smooth and wet from yesterday's rain. The sun dried it out on the surface later in the day.

There were dozens of people on the beach. About 2:00 volleyball players arrived and started warming up.

I went swimming twice. The water was cold, but I felt comfortable once I was in. I didn't see anybody else get in the water all the way, not without a wet suit. I saw very little life underwater, even though visibility was better than 20 feet in some places. I only saw a few sting rays.

About 2:00 the sky changed from mostly sunny to mostly cloudy. I left by 3:00.

October 8, 2000: Black's Beach

The weather forecast called for a chance of showers. It was a dismal looking day in La Mesa, but I'm a die-hard nudist. I headed out to Black's anyway. I arrived about 9:30 and found plenty of parking. I hiked down and found the temperature warm enough to undress, despite the cloudy skies.

I set up and within an hour it started looking better. It was getting so warm that I went for a swim. Visibility was good, perhaps 20 feet, and the water temperature was still in the upper 60s. I saw sting rays and sand dollars. There were some other small fish, perhaps grunion, and some larger fish that I never got a good look at.

More people arrived by noon and the sky was clear and sunny. There were a few dozen people on the beach that I could see.

The surf varied throughout the day. It was flat most of the day, which made for effortless swimming. I occasionally saw a four foot wave.

Volleyball player arrived in the afternoon and were still playing when I left at 5:30.

September 27, 29, 30 & October 1, 2000: Black's Beach

I've forgotten many of the details but it has been cloudy and cool for the last week at Black's. Parking has been adequate all days. The sun didn't come out the whole time I was there Wednesday and there were very few people there, maybe 20. There was very little sun Friday and there were more people Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday was the sunniest day of the week. It was sunny from about 3:00 to 5:00.

On the way down I met an injured woman. She apparently sprained her ankle. Her companion helped her the rest of the way down and they spent the day near me. We were counting on the lifeguards to give her a ride up to Black Gold Road. There was a time when we thought they wouldn't give her a ride. I offered to help her up the cliff, if they didn't. I'm so glad they finally gave her that ride. I didn't want to keep that promise.

I swam once on Saturday. It felt cold entering the water, but once I was out past the surf, I found warmer water. It must have been near 70. I didn't see anything unusual, just sand dollars and sting rays.

Sunday I arrived about 8:30 and stayed until 6:00. The sun only came out for about an hour, and not all at once. There may have been a hundred people on the beach Sunday. There were many surfing, plenty pitching horseshoes and later there were people playing volleyball.

There were six foot waves and I even caught one, body surfing. It ripped my goggles off my face and kept me under until I was almost out of air, but it was a good ride. My goggles washed up and I recovered them.

I swam twice and found a weak current carrying me south. I didn't see any unusual life, just the usual sting rays and sand dollars. Incidentally, I recently added some ocean wildlife photos to my website and today I developed a few more that are due to be added soon.

I left the beach about 6:00.

September 24, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived about 11:30. There were plenty of parking spaces along Torrey Pines Scenic Drive. There were also plenty of spaces in the glider port lot.

I hiked down the main trail at the glider port and headed north to my usual spot. It was sunny and warm on the beach. I passed dozens of people on my way north.

I met with several friends and sat down among them. I sat in the shade of my umbrella grading papers. Eventually an expected friend showed up.

We had planned to swim out to a buoy I had told him about. We picked up our gear and I led him north to the buoy. Once we could see that it was straight out, we donned our swimming gear and swam out. We were fighting the current and surf all the way out to the buoy.

We reached the buoy and swam under to have a look at the experiment hanging down. My friends suspects it was a hydrophone. We took turns taking each other's photos near the hydrophone.

The lifeguards showed up on their jet ski, concerned for our safety. It probably appeared to them as if we were swimmers who had been washed out to sea and were trying to anchor ourselves to the buoy.

The water was very warm, probably near 70, so we were in no great hurry to get out. On the way back I found the sand dollars. They were still in a vein-like pattern. My friend took a few pictures of me with the sand dollars in the background.

We swam to shore and walked south, back to our group. We saw lots of people swimming, playing volleyball and pitching horseshoes. There were maybe 200 people on the beach today.

I left about 6:00. It was still sunny.

September 13 & 15, 2000: Black's Beach

Wednesday I arrived at the glider port about 10:00. Street parking was completely full, but there was plenty of parking at the glider port.

The surf was flat and swimming was effortless. Underwater visibility was excellent. There were places where I could see 30 feet. I saw plenty of sting rays and bat rays. At the usual 15 foot depth there were sand dollars. Today they were in veins, crowded together like seeds in a sunflower. I took a few pictures for my web page.

There was a lifeguard truck patrolling up and down the beach much of the day, but they didn't stop at their post. There were very few people, perhaps 50.

The beach was sunny the whole time I was there. I had to leave about 3:00. I saw a few people at the top getting ready for the drum circle.

Friday, I arrived about 10:30. The street was completely full and the glider port lot was nearly empty, with good reason. The cliff edge was in fog. I hiked to the bottom and found it cool and overcast.

A few times in the day I could spot a seal in the surf. There were also plenty of birds hunting in and beyond the surf.

It never warmed up that day. Much of the day I wore a T-shirt. I didn't even get in the water. There were only about 30 people on the beach. I eventually put my pants on and wrapped myself in a towel, trying to stay warm until 6:00.

September 8-10, 2000: Black's Beach

Each day I arrived before 12:00 and found plenty of parking, both on the street and in the lot. I hiked down the main trail and north.

Friday I found that my bulletin board had been deeply burned, but still intact. I replaced the newsletter and the map I later hiked north to the other bulletin board. It was mostly intact. Only the corner of one page had come loose, and someone had tried to fix it.

I headed north and sat with some friends. On the way I saw that last weeks sand sculptures had survived, but only as mounds.

It was sunny all day, each day. The water temperature was mid to upper 60s. Underwater visibility varied from as good as 10 feet. Surf was almost non-existent Friday and Saturday, but increased to 4 foot waves Sunday.

The sea life I saw Friday and Saturday was the usual sting rays, bat rays and guitar fish. Sunday, I found a densely populated area of Sand Dollars . It was as crowded as seed in a sunflower. I also spotted a halibut. I reached for my camera and I was about to take a picture. The fish swam in circles, stirring up the sand, then I lost it.

I saw people playing volleyball, swimming, pitching horseshoes, playing smash ball, throwing footballs, swimming and boogie boarding. There were very few people surfing. I suppose the bad surf kept them away.

There were only about 50 people on the whole beach Friday, but there were hundreds Saturday and Sunday.

Each day I left after sunset.

September 4, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived about 10:45 and parked on the street. There were still many spaces available. There were also plenty available in the parking lot. I hiked down with 2 gallons of milk, 2 umbrellas, 2 liters of water, 15 pounds of dry ice, my ice cream maker and my usual supply of drinks, towel and chair. I summarize this so my readers will understand why I won't do this often.

I was panting on the beach 15 minutes later. I hiked to our chosen spot for the picnic. Some of my friends moved the grill, a 50 gallon drum, to a spot a little to the north of us. It was too deep, so I filled it with sand and put the charcoal on top.

I had passed a few sand castles that had survived the night and survived the day too. I could even see the pyramid way off in the distance.

The remains of the hang glider were still on the beach from yesterday. The lifeguards removed it in the morning. I learned from others that the pilot had broken an arm and had other injuries. Someone else said he'd broken a rib and had internal bleeding. I doubt the internal bleeding. If that were true I think they would have used life flight right from the cliff instead of bringing him down.

I went for two swims, because I knew I wouldn't have time later. The water was a little cool, but still near 70. I saw nothing more than bat rays and a few sand dollars. Visibility was not as good as yesterday, maybe 10 feet in a few places. The surf seemed better, but I didn't find a lot of time to watch it.

At about 1:00 I filled the bucket with sea water and added rock salt. Then I threw in a block of dry ice, about 4 pounds and went for a swim. When I returned I found the block frozen to the bottom. I had to chisel the dry ice off the bottom and take some out. I wouldn't be able to get the ice cream drum in with the ice frozen to the bottom of the bucket.

 

I finally got the drum in and we started cranking out the ice cream. There was no shortage of volunteers (1, 2 and 3) to crank. I kept busy adding dry ice to the bucket while others cranked and I checked occasionally. Many of them volunteered for web page photos, which will be seen on my page soon. I also went to people in our vicinity to make sure they knew the picnic had begun.

Meanwhile my friends had fired up the grill and were serving hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken. I missed out on the chicken. One man had brought 50 hot dogs and I think he still had 16 left. Another man brought two dozen hamburgers and there were none left. I don't know how much chicken we consumed. For the first time ever, I left with a full stomach.

We cranked out three gallons of ice cream from two gallons of milk. I think the ice cream was the most important draw to our picnic. First, it was a novelty, ice cream on the beach. Second, I used dry ice, so it was a bubbling cauldron. Third, it was a family picnic item. The few kids present never went far from the machine and they were all eager to crank. I might go on the road with this.

There were hundreds of people on the beach, but only a hundred or so were close enough that I could pass on the impending completion of ice cream. I think more than half of them came over for ice cream or something off the grill.

Once the picnic was clearly over we dug a trench for the coals and dumped them in. Then we doused them with sea water and buried them. We returned the grill to the spot where the lifeguards kept it.

I was there with a few friends until after sunset and we could see Venus as we hiked south to the trail. I could see Antares while I climbed the trail. I didn't look for whole constellations.

September 3, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived about 9:30 and found plenty of parking on the street, where I parked. There was also plenty available in the parking lot, but I thought I might be there after the gate was locked. The parking lot still stunk of fertilizer.

I hiked down, meeting some friends on the way. At the bottom I checked on my bulletin board, then headed north. I set my stuff down between the lifeguard station and the palm tree. I picked up the last of my newsletters and headed north to check on my bulletin board. I found the beach littered with tar, so I picked some up on my way north.

I found that someone had carved a Mayan-looking pyramid on the way. It seems I always find a pyramid there. Later I walked to the pyramid with a friend and met the artist.

I found my bulletin board intact. I restocked newsletters and started back south. I walked all the way to the southern boundary picking up tar. It was still washing up and continued washing up all day.

I met a new friend, two of them actually, readers from Las Vegas. They were working on a football stadium. I passed them many times in the day to check their progress. When they finished I took some pictures, some of which will end up on my web page.

I went swimming with a friend, who had to back out due to undersized fins. I swam out to my marker and on the way back I found another spider crab. It was about the same size as the one I caught Friday, but covered in barnacles. I caught it with one hand and swam to shore with the other. I posed for a few pictures , showed it around, then let it go.

I saw a boat passing with a banner. I thought the banner ended with sun club, but I couldn't make out the first part, something about surf. I swam out toward it, but it moved south too fast and the lifeguards seemed to be directing it on jet skis.

I met lots of new friends and talked to many old friends about our picnic tomorrow. There were hundreds of people on the beach today. Some were surfing, boogie boarding, swimming or surfing. Some were playing volleyball, pitching horseshoes or playing smash ball or Frisbee.

The water was about the same as the last two days, maybe near 70. Underwater visibility was about 10 feet in most places. Surf was better today, perhaps some 5 foot waves.

The air was still very clear. I could still see the outline of Long Beach, but only the outline. It was sunny most of the day. The sun only moved behind a cloud from about 5-6, but came out again before the day was over.

I didn't see the crash, but I did see the rescue landing. A hang glider crashed on the cliff above the lifeguard station. A paraglider landed right below him and rushed to his support. The lifeguards must have really been on their toes because the next I knew two of them were scrambling up the cliff. Within minutes there were three people under the hang glider helping the presumably wounded pilot.

Eventually there were seven rescue workers and that good Samaritan working under the hang glider. It was nearly sunset when they finally brought the pilot down on a stretcher and rushed him away. If it was on the evening news, I missed it, so I never learned his fate.

I stayed until sunset and spotted Venus in the sky before I began my climb. It was getting darker as I climbed with a few friends. A helicopter was circling nearby, providing light to remove the hang glider and parasail. Before I reached the top I recognized Arcturus, Scorpius, and Sagittarius. That was my darkest climb ever.

September 2, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived about 12:00. There were still many spaces on the street and the parking lot was filling fast. I found a space in the lot. I neglected to mention the stench of the parking lot yesterday. Well, it still stunk today. Apparently the glider port was spreading fertilizer.

I hiked down a sat down with some friends. The bulletin board was still in one piece.

There were clouds in the sky, but it was sunny most of the day. The air was still very clear, but not as clear as yesterday. I could still see Long Beach, but not as well. At times I could see the San Gabriel mountains.

The surf was nearly flat and the water was choppy beyond the surf. The water temperature was about the same as yesterday, near 70, and visibility was a little shorter, maybe 20 feet.

Once while standing in waist deep water, I saw a large mass of seaweed going south very fast. I went under water for a closer look and saw it was a leopard seal. I reached for my camera and tried to follow, but it was long gone.

I saw plenty of the usual sting rays, bat rays and guitar fish. I also saw schools of small fish. I spotted some fish in the surf and took a picture. It probably won't come out, since they were small and semi-transparent.

There were people in the water on boogie boards and plenty of people playing in the surf. I even swam with two buddies today, each of which I discovered in the water, rather than recruited on shore.

There were people playing volleyball, smash ball, horseshoes. I saw three families with kids, two of which I had met previously. One family nearly fell victim to an apparent kiddie pornographer, as described in my other post.

The wind must have been good, since I saw hang gliders going out over the water. I don't recall any landing on the beach. Yesterday the hang gliders were out over the water too.

It got cool for 30 minutes or so while some clouds blocked the sun. Those clouds cleared away before sunset. I watched the sunset with a few friends, watching for the green flash. It didn't happen.

I hiked up about 7:30.

September 1, 2000: Black's Beach

The weather looked cloudy so I wasn't in a hurry. I finally arrived about 1:00 and the sky was clear. There was no parking on the street and the glider port lot was filling, but I found a space.

I hiked down the main trail. At the end of the trail I bolted my new bulletin board to the post. I hiked north to Mussel Rocks, to check on my other bulletin board. I found it in exactly the condition I originally installed it. I attached a Black's Beach Bares label and used it as a newsletter dispenser.

I noticed the beach was littered with tar, so I picked up all the tar on my way south. I nearly filled a small grocery bag with tar, from the northern boundary to the southern boundary.

I met some old friends and made a new friend. Then I finally sat down. I finally noticed what a day it was. The air was so clear I could see land beyond Flat Rock. I could see a tower that I always pass on the way to San Onofre and much further. I'm sure I could see Long Beach and the San Gabriel Mountains. They are a hundred miles to the north. I turned to the south and La Jolla was much clearer than normal. I took a few pictures later in the day, when there were less people. There were clouds near the horizon, but they just added to the view.

The water was a bit cooler than last week, but it was still pretty warm, maybe near 70. Visibility underwater was also unusually good. I'm sure I could see 30 feet in some spots. The surf was horrible. I saw only one good wave the whole day. It was other wise small and choppy. It made the swim back to shore challenging.

Underwater I saw the usual sting rays, bat rays and guitar fish. I did see, photograph and catch a spider crab. The body of it was only about 5 inches in diameter and the legs could have opened up to about a 20 inch spread. I took two pictures, caught it with one hand and swam back to shore with the other. In waist deep water I whistled to a friend. He met me in the water and took my picture with my catch. I walked around a little, showing off. Then I took it back to the water and let it go. I thought it would scurry away as fast as it could, but it practically stayed in one place and appeared to be feeding there.

I didn't see anybody playing volleyball nor pitching horseshoes. I did see some people playing Frisbee. There were people in the water, but not surfing or boogie boarding.

It was getting cool and the sun was getting low, so I left about 7:00.

August 26&27, 2000: Black's Beach

I'm reporting in a different format since I'm summarizing two days and several topics.

The Bulletin Boards:
Recall that I put them up Friday. They both survived until Saturday morning, But the one near the glider port was missing Sunday morning. It took me a while, but I found the pieces. Somebody has used it to try to start a fire. They used my newsletters as kindling in their attempt to set my particle board on fire. I will be replacing it soon with something more sturdy. The one near Mussel remains intact.

Parking:
Both days I arrived about 10:30 and found plenty of parking.

Weather:
Saturday was overcast and warm. The sky cleared for two hours or so. Sunday was overcast, more so than Saturday. I could see the outline of the sun much of the day, but it was sunny less than 30 minutes. It was not as warm as Saturday.

Water:
The water was as warm as it ever gets, perhaps above 70. Visibility was less than 10 feet. The surf was mostly flat both days.

Ocean Wildlife:
I saw dolphins occasionally. I got up close once, but didn't manage to take any pictures. There were schools of tiny fish. There were plenty of sting rays.

Beach Games:
There were people playing volleyball on three courts. There were people pitching horseshoes, throwing Frisbees.

People Counts:
There were several hundred on Saturday and only about a hundred on Sunday, probably due to the weather.

Ice Cream Test:
Sunday I carried down three quarts of ice cream mix along with ice, salt and 15 pounds of dry ice. About 1:00 I added sea water to the bucket. Based on some advice on sea water salinity, I added rock salt to the water and stirred with my hand. There was still rock salt on the bottom when I threw about four pounds of dry ice in the bucket. I checked later and found a few slushy spots in the mix. I decided that it was time to add the ice cream. I poured the ice cream mix into the cooling pan and assembled the machine. I got somebody cranking while I added dry ice to the bucket. I lost track of the time, but after much cranking and more dry ice we had ice cream of the expected consistency.

We ended up with about 6 quarts of ice cream from 3 quarts of mix. We did it in two batches and had plenty of dry ice left. We did run out of bowls and spoons and had to rinse. We found a few people to help us consume it, including three lifeguards. Inviting the lifeguards turned out to be a good move since, while eating, they offered us the use of their grill for our Labor Day picnic.

August 25, 2000: Black's Beach

I had several errands to run, but I finally arrived at the glider port about 1:00. I parked on Torrey Pines Scenic Drive and carried my bulletin boards down.

Reaching the bottom, I set one down near a friend and hiked north to another friend. He and I bolted the board to our post and stapled the newsletter an map. A few people gathered around right away and things looked encouraging.

Afterward we were talking and my friend spotted something in the water. He said it was a seal, but I thought it was a drifting buoy. We swam out toward it. I eventually realized he was right. It was a seal resting with his fins out of the water. We approached it slowly while I took pictures. I was only about ten feet away when I took my last photo from underwater. It noticed us and effortlessly left us behind.

I went back to my spot near the glider port. I passed people pitching horseshoes and plenty of people in the water. There might have been about a hundred on the beach today. A helicopter flew overhead announcing a lost juvenile.

Later I went for another swim and found very little life. I saw sting rays, as always. I barely found my sand dollar marker. It appeared as if they were mostly buried in the shifting sand. Visibility was variable, as good as about 15 feet. The water temperature was about as warm as it ever gets, perhaps over 70.

Later on the beach some people south of me were waving their arms and shouting. They were trying to get the attention of the lifeguard at the top of the cliff. I whistled and waved and he spotted us. A friend had a cell phone and she called 911. The lifeguards to the north of us were there within two minutes. They treated him for dehydration and drove him up to the parking lot at the end of their patrol, 6:00.

A little later my construction buddy showed up and we installed the other bulletin board. We watched the sunset peek between the ocean and a layer of clouds. It was a very rich red. color.

I hiked up and met the man who coaxes bricks and handrails to grow out of the cliffs.

August 20, 2000: Black's Beach

Today was the day of our ice cream test. We are planning to make ice cream for a Labor Day picnic. I mixed half a gallon of ice cream and bought 5 pounds of dry ice on the way to the beach. Normally in making ice cream you use ice as a coolant and add salt to melt it without warming it. I knew that if I brought ice to the beach, it would already be too warm to make ice cream.

I arrived and parked on Torrey Pines Scenic Drive about 10:00. There were still plenty of spaces on the street and in the glider port lot. I hiked down the trail and noted a few improvements near the bottom. Some railing in the form of 1" pipe had grown out of the rock. I hiked north and met up with my friends. One of them was burying seaweed to make our piece of beach a little cleaner.

It was a sunny day and the water was warm, about as warm as it ever gets, perhaps above 70. There were clouds, but they didn't cover the sun until about 6:00.

There were hundreds of people. Many were swimming and surfing. There were people playing volleyball, smash ball and pitching horseshoes.

About 1:00 I started making the ice cream. I filled the bucket about half way with sea water and threw a piece of dry ice in. The water was a bit chilled, but not cold enough, so I added another piece of dry ice. When that dry ice was gone, it seemed cold enough, so I put the drum of ice cream into the bucket and started cranking. We added dry ice around the edges and it eventually turned into a salt water slush.

At one point I decided to open up the drum and see how the ice cream was doing. It wasn't ready, but in that one minute that we were stopped, the bottom of the drum froze to the bucket. We couldn't crank the ice cream anymore. I turned the beater manually for a while and put all the remaining dry ice in. Eventually the drum came loose and I could crank again, but it was too late. We drank our milk shake.

We learned enough from this experiment for our Labor Day picnic. We know that we need more like ten pounds of dry ice for every gallon of ice cream. We also learned that things freeze so quickly with dry ice that you must never stop.

I went swimming four times. Underwater I saw only the usual sting rays and sand dollars. There was a sailboat just beyond the surf, so I swam out to say hi. There was a man and two women on board. The man was nude, so I assumed they were going to anchor and swim to shore, which they eventually did. I thought they were too close to shore for such rough water. They thought they were anchored fine. I swam down to the anchor and it looked secure.

I swam back to shore and turned around to see the lifeguards heading to the boat in their zodiac raft. Later another lifeguard boat approached them. Later I saw them anchored about three times as far out. I also saw them later on the beach. They had swam to shore using a surfboard, but weren't sure they could make it back out. Just before the lifeguard left at 6:00, they gave them a ride.

I hiked up about 7:00.

August 18, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived at the glider port a little after 7:00. I met up with my construction buddy and he directed me to the north trail. We hiked down with our post and tools. Once we reached the bottom of the trail we headed north.

We saw dolphins in the surf, but I couldn't swim with them. We had a job to complete.

We dug our hole and secured our post near Mussel Rocks. We had already secured a post near the southern boundary yesterday. We walked to the northern edge of Mussel Rocks to see the Nudity Prohibited sign. The sign was still very visible.

We hiked south and chose our spots.

It was an uneventful day. I didn't see anybody playing volleyball or pitching horseshoes. There were people playing smash ball. There were people swimming and surfing. I swam out to my marker four times, but I only saw sand dollars, bat rays and sting rays.

I did catch a squid in the surf. I only spotted it because a seagull was attaching it. It slipped out of my hands once, by catching me off guard with its' jets. I caught it and posed for a picture with my catch. It was about 15 inches long. I showed off a bit, then let it go in the surf. I took a few pictures of it underwater, until I lost track of it.

It was sunny all day and there were hundreds of people on the beach.

I stayed to watch the sunset, then hiked up the glider port trail. About half way up I caught a gopher snake. It was about two feet long. I let it go and finished my climb.

It was after 8:00 when I got to my pickup, but the gate had not been locked yet.

August 16, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived at the glider port about 11:00 and parked. There were plenty of spaces. I hiked down, noticing a few improvements near the bottom of the trail. I hiked a little ways north and settled in with a few friends.

I saw the lifeguards setting up the cones and sign marking the nudity boundary. A little later I saw a lifeguard stop to talk to someone I had seen sleeping near the trail head. They had a dog, which was illegal at this time of day. It appeared like he issued a citation and buried a fire.

Dolphins were up and down the beach all day. I was in the water with them three times and I got close enough for pictures once. It will be weeks before I know if they came out. One swam so close to me that I could see it underwater. Visibility was only ten feet and it was only a shadow, but it was exciting for me.

The water was warmer today, near 70. I went swimming four times. One time I went north and swam out to that buoy I mentioned in my last report. This time I took a few pictures and swam under to find the end of the probe. It hung about 15 feet under. I took a picture of the probe. I didn't swim all the way to the bottom, since it was very cold at twenty feet. The bottom looked to be another ten feet under.

Walking back I passed through a putting "green" where I usually find horseshoe posts. I didn't see anybody playing volleyball today. I did see plenty of swimming and surfing.

I didn't see the lifeguards with their jet ski. They had the rubber raft this time. They left about 6:00, picking up the cones and sign on the way. I left right after that.

August 13, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived early, 8:00, to fulfill a promise and parked on Torrey Pines Scenic Drive. there was, of course, plenty of parking. It was foggy and moist. I was reconsidering my painting mission, but decided to go down and do it anyway.

I hiked down in the middle of a rescue mission. There were two fire engines, two ambulances and one lifeguard truck. Apparently a man was having trouble breathing, while climbing the glider port trail. I overheard a firefighter saying they would help him to the bottom where a lifeguard would pick him up. I caught up to the rescue and patiently followed as they helped the man down. He was very shaky and appeared to have spent the night on the beach.

I hiked north and settled in at one of my usual spots, near the palm tree.

While my friends went about their trash collecting mission, I went north with some pants and paints. I put on my pants at Mussel Rocks and continued north. I found the sign I'd promised to paint. It was an iron sign against the cliff with welded on letters, "AREA CLOSED NUDITY PROHIBITED."

I spray painted the rust spots black, which was most of it. Then I painted the raised letters white, using a brush. Afterward I walked back to the beach. That sign is not only plainly visible, but very readable from the surf. There is no excuse for crossing that boundary now. The bulletin board with the map will likely be done within the week.

While hiking back to my spot, I noticed a buoy. It was even with some standing thick posts. The buoy appeared to be a dark post, standing vertically out of the water. It appeared to be further out than my usual swim, making it a better challenge. Later in the day I swam out to it. Why? because it's there.

It was nearly twice as far out as my usual swim. It was made of black pvc and it was capped at both ends. It had a small beacon on top and a long probe hanging straight down. The probe must have been heavy, since it hung straight down. It appeared to be an experiment, perhaps to measure water temperature at a specific depth.

I went back to my spot. Many friends joined us through the day, some expected and some unexpected. I went swimming with three of them. One of them was a little boy. He swam in the surf a little, while his mother watched nervously. This boy had no fear, so he didn't chicken out, like I was planning. I had to make up an excuse to take him back to shore.

I saw hundreds of people, many of them playing volleyball. I saw people pitching horseshoes, throwing Frisbees and playing smash ball. There were plenty of people in the water, despite the low temperature.

Lifeguards were present just a little north of me, starting about 11:00. They patrolled the beach in trucks the beach until about 5:00 and they patrolled by jet ski until about 6:00. They rescued a remote controlled glider from the cliff, rather than have the owner attempt it himself.

There were hang gliders and paragliders above us all day, and a few of them landed on the beach.

I hiked up about 7:00.

August 12, 2000: Black's Beach

I left the sunny skies of Lemon Grove, bound for Black's. As I turned down Torrey Pines Scenic Drive, I say the fog ahead. I parked on the street about 10:00 and hiked down in the fog. I passed a couple at the top of the trail, trying to decide if it was worth going down. I met a friend on the beach who told me it was sunny at 9:00.

It was warm and humid. I couldn't wait to get in the water. It was very cool, frigid at the bottom. Visibility was very poor and I had to swim north to the lifeguards' maker buoy to find the sand dollars. It's anchored in the sand dollars and I had passed over my marker without realizing it. I also had to bring back a live sand dollar to complete my educational mission.

The sun finally came out about 3:00. The sky was not perfectly clear, but it remained sunny the rest of the day.

There were over a hundred people in the area I could see and there was a better balance of men to women. I guess it was about 60% men and 40% women.

There were plenty of people in the water. People were pitching horseshoes. Volleyball players arrived in the afternoon. I didn't notice much more, but I'm sure there were things like Frisbees too.

As I was getting ready to leave, I saw that same couple leaving ahead of me. They had made the right choice and come down. I was at the top by 7:00.

August 5, 6 & 9, 2000: Black's Beach

Saturday and Sunday were uneventful. I don't remember what few details there were. They were both overcast days. The sun only came out for 15 minutes Saturday and about 2 hours Sunday. I found plenty of parking, but I arrived early both days (10 AM). There were people pitching horseshoes, playing volleyball, body surfing, surfing, boogie boarding, playing Frisbee, playing smash ball, hang- gliding and swimming. The water was cool near the surface and frigid 5 feet under.

Wednesday I was in no hurry, since the weather had been overcast and seemed the same. I parked at the glider port about 12 noon, where it was overcast. The parking lot was about half empty. The street parking was full, which is typical for a weekday.

I started hiking down, noticing two men ahead of me. Both were carrying side arms, walkie talkies and badges. I didn't make out what the badges said. They were wearing green camouflage pants and yellow shirts. Their shirts didn't match. I passed them on the trail and watched as they arrived on the beach. They set foot in the sand and turned back. They stood in the narrow ravine for a few minutes then hiked back up. It had the look of two law enforcement officers on a lunch break.

On the beach it was overcast and windy, but warm. There were a few dozen people on the beach, about twice as many men as women. Nobody seemed very active today. Even I only went for one swim. The water was very cold at the bottom. People did surf, swim and play in the waves, but it wasn't hot enough to keep anyone in all day.

The sun did come out occasionally, and finally came out for good about 4:30. I left about 6:30.

July 16, 2000: Black's Beach

I had to return some equipment to a La Jolla store after 11:00. I was worried the whole time that there would be no parking when I arrived so late on a Sunday. When I finally turned down Torrey Pines Scenic Road about 11:30, I was surprised to find plenty of parking on the street. I was sure that I would not find parking in the glider port lot, so I parked on the street. I was wrong. There were still a few spaces left.

I hiked down and headed north. I staked my claim among a few friends and set up. We were near the palm tree.

Soon after I sat down, I saw lifeguards arrive on their jet ski. They were hot dogging in the surf. It was scary watching them weave between swimmers, but they seem to think they can't hurt anybody.

There were people pitching horseshoes a little to the south of us. During the day I saw three volleyball courts, each in use. I saw a fourth that wasn't yet set up. There were plenty of people in the water, boogie boarding, body surfing, surfing and swimming.

There were hundreds of people present. There were many couples, but there must have been twice as many men as there were women. There were also plenty of gawkers.

I went swimming three times, twice with a buddy. Twice I spotted a small jellyfish. It was about the size of my fist. We swam out to the lifeguard buoy, anchored in the sand dollar bed, and beyond. I may have dove down thirty feet, and there was a whole lot of nothing there.

It was sunny most of the day, but started to get cloudy toward the end. It was cool enough that many of us were getting dressed about 5:30. It must have been 6:30 when I left.

June 23, 2000: Black's Beach

It was a cloudy day in Spring Valley, but I knew from experience that it would be overcast and warm at the beach. I parked at the glider port about 11:00 where it was overcast and warm. There were plenty of spaces. The hike down was uneventful and I saw no changes in the trail.

I chose a spot a little to the north of the trail where there were a few people already. There was nobody on the other side of the slide.

I went for three swims. Each time I found my marker, the sand dollars, and I even returned with a few dead sand dollars. The visibility was unusually good. I could see the bottom 20 feet below. In the water I saw stingrays, bat rays and guitar fish. I also saw a flounder, about 20 inches long, a corbina, a purple jellyfish (which I photographed) and two schools of small fish.

I had some scary moments in the water. One swim I saw this large hovercraft which was making a lot of noise and seemed to be coming toward me. It turned and headed north. It was a navy hovercraft and I got a few photos. On my last swim the lifeguards were heading towards me in their rubber raft. I heard them and stopped just in time. I don't think they saw me. They went out to about where I had been swimming and came back in. Maybe somebody saw me and pointed me out to the lifeguards.

From the beach I saw some wildlife too. I saw three dolphins, a seal and an egret. I see plenty of egrets in Mission Bay, but don't often see them at the beach. I took a photo of the egret, without its consent, and it flew away when I tried to get closer for the second shot. Of course there were plenty of seagulls and squirrels, but I never mention those pests.

The sun did come out a little of the day and there did get to be dozens of people, mostly men. The lifeguards are setting up their station about half way between the two trails and watching from the cliffs above, which is standard for the summer. I friend told me they issued a citation to a few men for fishing without a license today.

The surf was very flat today, which is probably why the visibility was so good.

I packed up and climbed the trail arriving at the top about 6:30. I didn't hit any traffic on my way back to East County.

June 17, 2000: San Onofre

I parked at Las Pulgas under partly sunny skies. Then I bicycled the last three miles, passing through the trail six parking lot about 11:00. The parking lot was almost empty and the sky was overcast.

I hiked down to the beach and found only about 1/3 of the beach front was occupied. I chose my spot and unpacked. There were also plenty of people south of the fence, on Camp Pendleton.

I posed for a few pictures with my swim gear and went for a swim. I went for three swims that day. The water was about as warm as it ever gets. As always with California water, it feels cold while entering. But you adjust quickly, and I could have swum for hours in that temperature.

I swam way out, maybe 1/4 mile. The current was unusually weak and swimming was relatively effortless. Although visibility was poor I managed to find a few things on the bottom. I found and returned two hermit crabs and I posed with one. I also found a few sand dollars and collected them for a little boy in North Carolina.

Seven people showed up off-shore on jet skis. They were close enough that I would have been worried if I were swimming or surfing at the time. There was nobody in the water at that time though. One of them came closer to shore, into the surf and had to jump a wave to get back out.

About 2:00 I saw two trucks heading north. They turned and stopped at the fence line and a marine got out of each. Within 15 minutes the exodus from Camp Pendleton to the state beach was nearly complete. Suddenly the beach was more crowded, but still only about 1/2 the beach front was occupied. The marines left when there were only a few people left on their beach, and those few were leaving. After they left nobody got up and moved back, but people were still arriving and crossed the line over to Camp Pendleton. Nobody stopped them.

Later I met with Marianna Handler and recounted this. She told me something important that should be repeated until it's heeded.

The only reason the marines kick people off the beach is that people go way south to, or near, Red Beach, a campground for marines and their dependants. When they see nude people they complain and the marines must respond. They respond by chasing everyone off their property. If people would only cross a short distance onto Camp Pendleton, they would not chase us off. We could actually gain use of more beach if we would police ourselves. If we drew our own line in the sand and stopped people who crossed it, the marines would not come and chase us off.

I was starting to feel a little cool, and realized it would only get colder now. I packed up and left about 3:00. It never did clear. It was overcast the whole day.

June 15, 2000: Black's Beach

I parked at the glider port about 12:00. It was partly sunny. My hike down was uneventful and there were no changes to the trail. Once at the bottom, I headed north to my usual spot near the palm tree.

There were about a dozen people present, mostly men. More people arrived later and there were perhaps two dozen people in my vicinity throughout the day.

A man behind me and north appeared to be playing with himself, probably watching the woman who had set up behind me. Suddenly he started gathering his things in a hurry. I looked to the south and the lifeguards had come to a stop in their yellow truck, facing him. He gathered up his things and left. The lifeguards continued their patrol heading south.

I went swimming three times. The water was cool. That's good, since the water temperature ranges from exhilarating to cool. The visibility was also very good. I could see the bottom, 25 feet below. There was nothing to either side to judge horizontal visibility. I swam way out and never found my marker, the sand dollars. I may have swam further and deeper than ever before, but I didn't find much. I saw a few bat rays, stingrays and guitarfish. I spotted an unusual spot of sand on the bottom that seemed to move against the surge. It was a small flounder, maybe eight inches long. It was too fast for a photo.

On the beach I dozed off under overcast skies and woke up to cloudy skies. It was a nice temperature when I fell asleep and it was still a nice temperature when I woke up. In fact, it was such a nice temperature that it took some effort to wake up. I considered leaving early to avoid traffic, but decided that there was no need.

Near the end of the day I helped some ladies gather sand crabs for fishing. There were a lot on the beach and I taught them how to spot the big ones. They spread these wing-like feeders and you just look for big wings. The ladies were worried about sting rays, and with good reason. I pointed out one in the knee deep water.

I packed up and hiked up to the parking lot, returning to my vehicle about 6:30. I found that someone had tried to steal it. The lock on the driver's door had been smashed. I'm at a loss as to why anyone would want to break into mine. There's a pile of trash on the passenger side, a cheap radio and it's an old model. Maybe they figured all the others had alarms.

June 7, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived at the glider port about 12:00 and parked. The parking lot was unusually full for mid week, but I found a space and there were plenty more. It was sunny so I hiked down immediately. And picked a spot near the palm tree.

I went for a swim out to my usual marker, the sand dollars. Then I decided that I might as well swim to some rocks that were rumored to have been dumped near the north trail. I swam north and looked around a little. While swimming to shore, I noticed red and white signs on the beach. I finally reached the beach and found that they were contaminated water signs. I hoped they referred to the water running out of the canyon there and not the water I just emerged from.

There were dozens of people there, many of whom were regulars. I talked with a few friends. I can't say I made any new friends.

I swam two more times, one after seeing dolphins breaching to the south and hoping they would continue north and cross my path for a photo. Damn dolphins will never pose.

I left about 6:00 and regretted it, since I still got stuck in traffic.

May 29, 2000: Black's Beach

We were expecting Memorial day to be an extension of yesterday's reunion. A lot of the same people were planning to meet in the same spot.

I left cloudy Lemon Grove behind about 9:15 and arrived in La Jolla a few minutes later for two friends. It was cloudy there too, so we weren't in a hurry to leave. About a half hour later the sun came out, so we rushed out the door, bound for Black's. Arriving at the glider port it appeared to be a repeat of yesterday's overcast sky.

We hiked down the trail and found a comfortable temperature at the bottom, but cloudy like yesterday. We set up "camp" and waited for others to arrive. We were all in need of some UV protection, since we all burned under yesterday's overcast sky. We had a little fun with some pink zinc oxide I had.

We saw a pod of dolphins coming from the north that seemed to slow down in front of us to play. I ran out to the water in an attempt to get in the middle of it. By the time I had gotten out far enough a boat had driven them north. I swam north, trying to keep them in sight. I eventually decided that they had gone far away. I caught a good ride on a wave in. Then I turned around and I saw two dolphins more or less where I had caught the wave. I swam back out, but it was pointless. I had lost them.

I had swam a ways north, so I had to walk back. I found my two friends in the surf with boogie boards looking out at sea for me. They caught a few good waves and I took a few pictures.

By now a few more of the gang had shown up. There were two guys that weren't there yesterday, Race and Robert. And, there was a little bit of body painting going on.

To my surprise the sky cleared up about 2:00 and there were hundreds of people there to soak up the photons.

Eventually Claudia got painted and the three of us went parading the beach. We stopped in a few places for pictures. We made a point of going to the nudity line and taking pictures with the signs.

About 4:00 we packed and left, since Claudia had a flight to catch. The sky was still sunny when we left.

May 28, 2000: Black's Beach Reunion

I picked up two friends two miles from the beach. It was a sunny day, but when we parked at the glider port, we were in fog. Convinced that it would burn off, we started down with all our gear.

Before we even got out of the parking lot, we ran into somebody, Clara Bailey and her grandson. Nearly at the bottom of the trail she ran into a few friends too.

We set up a spot just north of the trailhead and decorated it in red, white and blue. Familiar faces began arriving quickly. Hugs and even a few tears of joy were exchanged. Photo albums were shared and addresses were exchanged.

Being the new guy, I had a lot of names to learn. Fortunately I knew a few of them from Camping Bares, and I met a few people I only knew from email. Joi, Dale, Alan, Angel, Ron, Rod, Don, Debbie, Ursula, Claudia, Blair, Helen, Murrel, Eddie, Barry, Steve and I'm sure a missed quite a few.

Several of us went walking to the north end. We passed Kevin building a large sandcastle. They test their luck at predicting when the tide will wipe it out. We went past the buoy and into the rocks. We found lots of small crabs hiding in the rocks. I turned back at that point, but others went further north.

I went swimming twice, each time with a buddy, Blair. We reached my sand dollar marker and swam back, catching a few waves on the way.

Back on the beach the body painting got started. I only saw a few necklace-looking paintings, lots of hearts on arms, and lots of paintings on cheeks. Beards got in the way of some of these cheek paintings, so don't assume the cheeks were below the shoulder.

There were hundreds of people on the beach today, but very few were part of this reunion. The numbers thinned when everybody lost hope of the sky clearing. In fact the sky never cleared. It was overcast all day, and warm most of the day. Eventually, many of us were putting our clothes on and wishing we had long sleeves. Concerning the waste of carrying so many umbrellas, I kept telling myself that it was better that we didn't take chances. I know my face feels warm and my shoulder are a bit tender. I got some sun.

I didn't look at a clock when we left, but it must have been after 6:00.

May 27, 2000: Black's Beach

I parked at the glider port about 10:00. In the east the sky was mostly clear, but in the west the sky was very cloudy. I knew this would be an excellent day, so I rushed down the trail. There were a few steps added to the bottom of the trail since my last visit. I later found that the date had been carved in.

I picked a spot within sight of the trail head to the north. In a short time some expected friends showed up and we all settled down.

We all went for a swim and found the live sand dollars. The current was carrying us south and I was a little concerned that we might come out of the water on the wrong side of the nudity line. We took a few pictures of each other, but visibility was very poor and I don't expect any of them to come out. I went for two more swims later, and I photographed a sting ray. It looked dead, but I still kept a respectable distance. The visibility was much better by then.

There were hundreds of people there. Maybe some of it was due to the body painters reunion. Most people didn't know about the reunion. People were probably just there for the holiday weekend. We met one of the body painters, Joi, and one of us, Claudia, got a necklace painted on. I did see two other women painted.

We walked as far north at the beached buoy, took a few pictures and headed back. My friends stopped to play volleyball and I went on to pack.

While waiting, I saw a pod of dolphins playing in the surf. I took a few pictures, They may even come out.

My friends returned just a little too late to see the dolphins. We took a few sunset pictures and climbed the trail before it got dark.

May 19, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived at the glider port about 11:00. The parking lot was in the fog, but I started down anyway. Sometimes the parking lot is in the clouds, but the beach is sunny. Not today, the beach was overcast and remained so until afternoon.

I took off my pants as soon as I reached the beach and I headed north. I chose a spot near the north trail and two volleyball courts. I still didn't take off my tee-shirt and even wrapped my legs in a towel. I dozed off a few times under the still overcast sky.

About 2:00 a foul weather friend showed up. That means he's a fellow astronomer and we only see each other when the weather is bad; otherwise we're busy. The sky was still overcast and I was talking about going home early. However, the sky soon cleared off and it warmed up enough that I took my shirt off too. There were off shore clouds all day, but a fair temperature most of the afternoon.

I went for one swim, and the water was colder than I expected. I saw a few bat rays and I caught one really good wave. Then I trembled on the beach until I warmed up.

I left about 6:00.

May 19, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived and parked at the glider port about 12:00. It was cloudy but warm and I hiked straight down the trail. I noticed the makeshift stairway near the bottom wasn't resting on solid ground, but it was still sturdy enough.

I headed north and passed one landslide. There weren't many people there yet, and they were all men. There were probably a dozen men in sight, and three women by the end of the day.

There was almost no litter on the beach, so I fully expected to find Kevin and Dick, the beach sweepers. I never did find them. Somehow the beach was cleaned without them. I did find quite a few jellyfish parts on the beach.

I went swimming twice. The water seemed colder to me than last week. Visibility was very poor. I did manage to find a vertebrae, of I don't know what.

The sky was never quite clear. There were high cirrus clouds all day. The temperature was perfect though, and I dozed off under my umbrella.

About 3:00 I spotted a pod of dolphins heading south. I counted four fins, but there were probably more.

By about 4:30 it seemed that the clouds were about to get hopelessly thick. I slowly packed up and left. I drove out of the parking lot about 5:30, and I wished I had waited a bit. I hit the evening rush hour traffic.

May 14, 2000: San Onofre

I exited interstate 5 and parked at the bike trail. Twenty five minutes later I arrived at the beach parking lot, about 10:15. It was mostly empty. After a fifteen minute walk, I was in the middle of the clothing optional beach. Some friends arrived about thirty minutes later.

I went for a swim and a friend went boogie boarding. We both had the same opinion about the water temperature, cold. It was colder than at Black's.

It was windy all day and we used our umbrellas as wind breaks. Between the warmth of the sun and the cooling wind, the temperature was just about right. It was unusually under crowded, probably because of Mother's Day.

It was nearly 4:00 when we all decided it would soon be too cold. We hiked back to the parking lot that was unusually empty. After fifteen minutes on a bike, with the wind at my back, I was back in my parking lot.

May 13, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived and parked at the glider port about 10:00. There were no clouds so I went straight down. There was even more improvement in the trail since my last visit.

I headed north and passed two landslides. I was approaching a volleyball court and the next trail head. I chose a spot south of the volleyball court. I passed jellyfish parts washed up on the beach, some species with purple mixed in.

The weather was great all day. I swam three times. I didn't see much besides bat rays. I think I was nearly stung. I was testing depth and brushed a foot on the bottom. I felt something move and a barb on the top of my foot, but it didn't break the skin. The water turned out to be about chest deep. While walking out for my first swim, I looked down into knee deep water and saw my feet surrounded by small bat rays.

I left about 4:30. The weather was still great, but the tide was coming in fast. Soon there wouldn't be enough beach for everybody.

April 30, 2000: Black's Beach

I arrived and parked at the glider port about 10:00. The weather was completely free of clouds, so I wasted no time and hiked down the main trail.

I was pleased to discover that there had been some improvement in the trail. It's important to realize that the official position of San Diego is that that and all other trails are closed. The existing trail erodes seriously with every storm and the city does not repair it. Fortunately there are people who risk a citation to give us better access.

Anyway, a few planks were held up by rebar and made into steps by holding dirt back. A few steps had been carved out in the ravine. Old and buried steps had been dug out and exposed. Thank you to this faceless person who maintains our trail.

I went to my spot near the palm tree. I met a few old friends and made a few new ones. I saw a lot of old faces and quite a few new faces too.

I went for four swims, caught a few waves and picked up a few shells. I heard dolphins on one swim, but I never saw them. I took a few pictures of waves, while I was out in them, and I took a picture of the palm tree, so that I might use on a web page some day.

There were people playing horse shoes near me, as usual. There were people playing volleyball near the trail head, and probably near the other trail too.

A couple near me had a problem with a man sitting in one of those spots that makes women nervous. I couldn't believe they let it go so long, but they finally blocked his view with an umbrella and he left soon after.

The weather was still perfect at 4:30, but I left to get other things done.