Murder by Death

Giant Green anemone

Murder! Involving Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot and their like— Roundup all the usual suspects! All of them have been gazetted with accounts of their many famous investigations into multiple homicides. I know that they hoe close to law enforcement, always sheltering in their lee. This symbiotic relationship has protected them from suspicion, for way too long. Invariably in these stories, some loathsome individual is first killed. No one ever likes these people. In fact, the list of their many detractors usually fills out the rest of the cast and if not for the intervention of these busybody do-gooders that would likely be the end of it all. The premature death of these Cretans would serve as a beneficial cautionary tale, warning others to be more respectful of their fellows, less they too suffer the same fate. All that would be lost are a few bad apples and society would go on and be much better without them. But no, Marple, Poirot and their ilk quickly descend upon the once tranquil English country village and in the name of law and order begin asking all sorts of awkward questions. Questions that soon spur further homicides. If only they had left well enough alone. British ‘30s murder rates would plummet in their absence, but then so would ratings on BBC TV.

Monterey Aquarium

Sand crab

The Monterey Aquarium is a world-class institution that I like to visit regularly and I am always able to find something new to see there. Exhibit A, the above pictured Sand crab. Located at the western end of the second floor, in s a tiny tank, about a dozen members of this species were on display. Filter-feeders that are constantly waving their antennae. They live in the splash zone on beaches and feed on plankton in the water. When threatened, they burrow into the sand.

Today’s forecast threatened rain, but in the end it never did. The aquarium was mobbed with school field trips, but we persisted. Dad wanted to make clam chowder for dinner tonight. So, I started fishing out some clams from one of the tanks. Anne and Dad ran interference for me with the docents, while I stuffed them in my bag, but eventually we were booted from the premises. Afterwards, we walked down Canary Row to Ghirardelli’s, for some ice cream. There is nothing like fresh seafood, even if it is “farm” raised seafood. 

Point Lobos

Striped Shore Crab

Pudding rock and tafoni resist the sea, but their strength all to quickly erodes. Sandstone like sand castles soon melt under the waves, but land’s retreat is never uniform and here makes a point, called Lobos. Spanish explorers called the place Lobos Marinos, for barking seals, not wolves. In ‘33 Al Allan saved it from becoming a subdivision. Now, it is a park. It is a magical preserve, where wind, wave and rock all meet, struggle, subside and meet again.

Aquatic wildlife abounds. We saw whales spouting out at sea and porpoises leaping among the waves. Sea lions and Harbor seals climbed up onto rocks to bask on this perfectly sunny day and a raft of sea otters floated lazily among the kelp. There were birds too, birds galore. New to us was the Pigeon Guillemot, a mainly black bird, with white wing chevrons and day glow orange feet and bill. It lives out at sea and only comes in to nest. Among the other phylum, we saw while tide-pooling starfish and this bold crab that did not back down at my approach and mollusks, lots of mollusks. There was a small 1″ wingspan white butterfly, with orange stripping that Anne dubbed the Coast Guard butterfly.

That was before a Coast Guard helicopter swooped down upon us, looking for wayward souls lost at sea. Unimpressed, it flew on. It was too early, because a minute later an errant wave splashed us good. It is always the unseen wave that gets you. We scurried back to the car to layout all of our things to dry. I got water in my ear, but otherwise no worse for wear. It was a very good day!