Tuesday, August 28, 2018

S.S. Palo Alto aka The Cement Ship

     Sometimes, ya just gotta forget everything and get away for a beach day! This was yesterday - my daughter, my sister, and I escaped the valley and ran off to the beach for the afternoon. We hit our go-to beach in Aptos (a bit south of Santa Cruz). The weather was deliciously foggy, a relief from the relentless heat of the central California valley summer.

    The fog/water/sand combo would be perfect by itself, but this beach is home to the S.S. Palo Alto, a WWI era cement ship. This ship has always been fun for us to explore, although now we need to explore it from the beach. This ship began as a cement bottomed ship to be used in WWI, but the war was over by the time the production of the ship was completed. Rather than become a war ship, the S.S. Palo Alto was purchased as a beach amusement center. The ship was all decked out to be the ultimate party ship, with a ballroom, a restaurant, and a swimming pool! Legend has it that there was also gaming in the bottom, and the surrounding beach was used for bootlegging during prohibition.

     Here is this awesome ship when it was new.

Read the history of the S.S Palo Alto here

     Here is the S.S. Palo Alto, complete with her pier, entertaining guests in the early 1930's.

Read the history of the S.S. Palo Alto here

     This party boat was only in business for a couple of years before the business went bankrupt. The ship stayed and was used as a fishing dock for the next thirty or so years.

     Every few years, the Monterey Bay area sees some lively storms and this ship has been repeatedly battered. She is breaking apart and sinking now. I think it would have been fun to see her in her heyday. It is still fascinating to get to watch the deterioration process, though. The pier is no longer safe to walk the length, although the front half is still open for walking and fishing.

S.S. Palo Alto June 2013

S.S. Palo Alto June 2013

S.S. Palo Alto August 2018

S.S. Palo Alto August 2018
S.S. Palo Alto August 2018
Pelicans and gulls
     Of course, the afternoon was not all about the ship. My sister and I were having fun playing with our cameras while all three of us walked the beach. We actually walked about 6 miles!!

     We found a winged dragon weathervane on a beach house. How majestic is he??? Click on the caption link to see what he looks like new. This actually was not difficult to research, the weathervane was handmade by a local company. 

Dragon weathervane
      I love the hardiness of flowers growing in the sand. It seems so inhospitable to me, but look at how beautifully they are doing.

     My girl "helping" her auntie with some sandy action shots.

Throwing sand for photograph effect

Sand crab

Walking Seacliff State Beach

Cement ship Seacliff State Beach Aptos

Waves under the pier
      There were several painted pink driftwood logs. I have no idea why they were painted this way, but it looked cute and festive.

painted pink driftwood

   Here is Aptos Creek spilling into the Pacific Ocean. The mouth of the creek often changes course.

Aptos Creek spilling into the ocean
      The famous "Boat House". This majestic beauty is super fun to look at and looks to be even more fun to stay in. Raise your hand if you could live here! It is my dream to live on the beach and be able to grab my coffee and walk the beach for my daily morning exercise. Check this out: this house is an occasional VACATION RENTAL! Starting now, I am saving my dollars for this! Check it out here.

Boat House on Rio Del Mar beach

     I hope you enjoyed seeing our little adventure. All work and no play makes a very boring book jewelry maker, AMIRIGHT? Please, leave a link to your getaway adventures in the comments. I'd love to see what everyone else is up to.

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