the positives of negative tides

CaveVertical2The Secret Cave of Limantour Beach

Driving back to the bay area last Sunday I was transfixed by a fisheye photograph on the cover of The Point Reyes Light. The radial composition framed a fisheye view of a cave with a guide standing dwarfed in the tiny passageway at the base with a gaping hole of sky above. I read the date. It was scheduled in three days. I checked my calendar and went online to the Point Reyes National Seashore Association to buy a ticket but was foiled as they were listed: SOLD OUT. At the bottom I clicked the waitlist and added my name. The next day I texted a friend who might be able to sub for my class and made plans to go, even though I didn’t have a ticket. I drove back up to Inverness before the sunrise Wednesday morning, packed my camera gear, stopped at Perry’s Deli in Inverness Park and shoved lunch and desserts from the Bovine Bakery into my backpack, layered up as the guide instructions stated, and met the group in the Limantour Beach parking lot with a smile and sixty dollars cash. They wrote a nametag and let me join the group. I popped a few ibuprofen in my mouth to offset any pain from my reconstructed leg, and set off down the beach, south toward the cliffs. The trip had been planned and cancelled twice before due to winter storms, but this third time was the charm. Blue sky and warm sun had us peeling layers. Miles later, around a few jagged rock formations and tidepools, Frank Binney lead us to the promised secret cave. For most of the walk, Frank carried a 6-foot ladder strapped to his back for us to get down the tricky parts, explaining the geology of arch and cave formation and collapse, guiding us with humor, kindness, and expertise. I credit newspapers, compelling photography, and a willingness to just show up with one of the most perfect days of my life. Most of what we explored would be underwater and impassible with ocean surge. A trek to the secret caves made possible by the negative tide and persistence to be a part of the adventure.




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