Sunday, March 17, 2013

Boldly Balding Beach

South of Point Arena, in Mendocino County, where Schooner Gulch road intersects with  California State Highway # 1, there is a place called Bowling Ball Beach. I've had opportunity to visit this amazing beach now every winter for the last five years. It's a bit of a regular treat each time too to bring a number of international wallers who work with me here to see these phenomenal, very evenly spaced, almost completely rounded boulders. Two years ago DSWA master craftsman Sean Adcock saw them and took copious photos. 

The geological formations are known as 'concretions'. They naturally occur but are way better than any man made concrete 'creations' I've ever seen. They are best viewed at low tide. The 'bowling pins' are only seen when they are Photoshopped in. (Everything else in this photo is amazingly real : )

Anyway, in honour of Saint Patrick's day, I thought I'd post some pics of the afternoon last January when Sean and I introduced Ireland's Patrick McAfee to the beach. For those who don't know much about Patrick, he's a very knowledgeable author, heritage restoration mason, lime mortar expert, arch bridge consultant and dry stone walling instructor and a wonderfully humble man who would cringe that I just told you all that. 

He and I stood and marvelled at the smooth shiny bald rocks before us. Even before this excursion Patrick had already told me how wonderful a work holiday he was having and that he felt like he had "died and gone to California" !  

With all his stone insight I was surprised Patrick didn't make the association that I was beginning to see. Ever looking for blog content, I asked if he would agree, and he did, ( in his typically good natured Irish manner) to have a picture taken of the back of his bald head at a boldly exaggerated angle with the stone 'bowling balls' in the background. 

Patrick was a saint to allow this photo shoot. It shows how unintimidated, how comfortable, yea, how bold he is about his baldness. 

Cheers, Patrick ! And a 'coast' to you my friend, on this, your day, as you continue to go baldly where no hatless man has gone before.