Bodega Head

Given the mountains and valleys around here, sometimes I forget that I live only 27 miles away from the ocean (it’s 20 miles from where I work). That’s compared to about 160 miles when I lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

On Thursday after work I decided to take advantage and drive out to Bodega Head, part of the Sonoma Coast State Beaches. It was a beautiful day, and I just happened to have my camera with me. I’m finally starting to adjust to the sun setting after 8pm, giving me three hours of sun to do anything I choose. What a gift.

Bodega Head cliffs, looking southeast

The purple-blue stuff on the sand below are thousands of these small jellyfish that got washed shore. They look like discarded plastic suction cups, especially when they dry out, which is amusing to me, to think sometimes how “dirty” nature can be. Or entropic.

Small Jellyfish washed ashore at Bodega Head

Up close they look just like this, though I’d say these were about an inch or two wide. Update: Terrie informs us that these particular jellyfish are by-wind-sailors.

My very first trip out to Bodega Bay was when I came up to Sebastopol to see about this job at O’Reilly. Terrie drove with me to get some live crab from one of the fisherman out there. She boiled them, and we devoured them back at her place. Since then I’ve been known to pick up a dungeness crab (already boiled) from Andy’s Market on the way home (usually only $4 a pound!) and eat just that for dinner.

So I couldn’t help but want to do the same, except this time I got one already cooked, which I shelled and added to some penne pasta with artichokes, tomatoes, green onions and a cream sauce.


Those jellies are By Wind Sailors. Supposedly, when they are abundant they can be indicators of a dry winter to follow. That would be a new experience for you in California, eh?!


Thanks for the photo of the By The Wind Sailors. I was being homesick for the northern Ca beaches and thousands of walks there with my oceanographer/astronomer husband Al. I am from the east coast & there are Moon snails, Horseshoe Crabs & Mermaid’s Purses (shark egg cases) on the beaches-so the first time I saw tens of thousands of the little By the Wind Sailors washed up on the San Francisco beaches , I said’whazat?, & Al told me about the sailors, that they were not single celled, but a colony of animals & that their little sails were fixed in only one direction so that they could sail the wide wide ocean to their little hearts content. But if the prevailing winds changed, they could not change their sails to suit and got blown far across the sea and washed up, which to me was a tragedy and I have always remembered them. Al died too. I called him Dr. Trueheart & I was Miss Fertileheather. Missing him too, I looked for photos of the sailors and found yours, which brought back the days. Now I sit on my mountaintop, but it’s not the same. Thank you for a very fine photo of the By the Wind Sailors.

Care to Comment?

Or if you'd prefer to get in touch privately, please send me an email.


Email (optional)

Blog (optional)