Pebble Beach Landfall

Weather interrupts our passage from Juan de Fuca to San Diego and we find ourselves anchored just beyond the kelp in the prosperous shadow of the Pebble Beach golf course. Coming from the sea, one never knows how the natives will react. We know how jealously they guard beaches on Long Island, so we half expect a greeting of dimpled artillery launched from the seventh hole; we’re well within range. But a swimmer on a surfboard, elderly and fit, assures us that we can safely go ashore and even (carefully) walk the links. So we land at the Stillwater Yacht Club and enter a world as foreign to us as a Mexican fishing camp on the Baja peninsula.

Our ragged shore party is soon surrounded by people the likes of whom we’ve never seen before: women, thin and exquisite, glowing with a moonlight pallor that is almost frightening; men, equally exquisite, coiffed, manicured and perfumed, their faces lit an unearthly orange by artificial tans.

As we wander the grounds and marvel at the price of T-shirts in the pro shop, the faces are welcoming and pretend not to notice our faded clothes, gritty fingernails and dearth of fashion accessories.

Our walk to Carmel along 17-Mile-Drive, a road wholly unsuited to pedestrians, takes us past houses with names—Wit’s End, Pinewood Edge, Lucky Strike—and we witness a parade of fenders and chrome as impressive as the diamonds in the resort’s gift shop. We pick up the Carmel Pine Cone and read the police blotter for light entertainment. (We’re used to Baltimore.)

Back at The Lodge, the doorman invites us in to peek at a wedding. On the lawn we see the happy couple exchanging vows with our boat, Momo, perfectly at ease in the background. Later, aboard another boat, we meet a resident who offers us the use of his Mercedes SUV so we can tour the area. We decline the offer, but change our minds the next day, only to learn that he’s left for his Nevada ranch. When we leave Pebble Beach, we take with us an unexpected fondness for this place, and steel ourselves for San Diego. – Bernard Heise & Michelle Elvy

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