Tom Politeo helped us say good-bye to the Palos Verdes Peninsula, as he took us down the bluffs and into the San Pedro-Long Beach harbor area. On the way there, we visited the Point Fermin lighthouse and took a detour through the ?Sunken City?, an area of city streets and homes which slumped in 1929. Here, two people ? Mr. and Ms. Mendez ? were engaged in picking up trash. After being handed a bifold flyer and told of our trip, they were heard to say as we left ?We could do that too.? I hope they do.
Our next stop was at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, where Linda Chilton had the locked doors opened for us for a quick tour. Much is made of the Monterey and other aquariums on the coast, but this one has excellent displays that show aspects of marine life untouched in other aquariums; for example, that lobsters eat mussels and that sand dollars stand vertically in the sand.
We then entered the gentrified portion of the harbor that was built, we were told, from profits from the Los Angeles Olympics. Here were acres of yachts and sailing boats, hotels, restaurants and yacht clubs, all clean looking and ever so Mediterranean. But immediately past this came the working harbor; gritty, business like, all warehouses and asphalt. After winding past the ?Ports O?Call? area of shops and restaurants, it was back to the working harbor again, as we walked past tuna fishing boats with their nets piled up on the docks. Here I had to part company with my compatriots. All of us rode over the Vincent Thomas Bridge, because pedestrians are forbidden to use it. By contrast, the second bridge, named after Gerald Desmond, allows walkers on a catwalk. No fear of heights is allowed, however, as the walking surface is porous, allowing views of the waters below, and the side is of in-substantial chain-link fence material. I chose to deny the existence of this structure and was driven to its other side, there to meet the more hearty walkers. (Linda?s note: the fencing material guarding us from falling off the edge of the bridge looked very substantial to me. It curved up above our heads, and one could not possibly slip off the bridge, much to my relief. I also suffer slightly from a fear of heights, but this look at the harbor below us was so fascinating that I didn?t even think about being high in the air, as we walked over the huge shipping area and the LA River.)
My avoidance of this structure was not all for naught, for as I waited for the bridge to be traversed by the other walkers, I had some time to sit and contemplate what was before me. What was before me? To the untrained eye: bedlam. I sat on the edge of constant movement and noise. Diesel trucks came one after the other; all carried containers either out of or into the port area. Containers with names: Hanjin, Oocl, Hyundai, Pacific Banana, APL, China, Genstar, Tex, Hamburg Sud, Triton, GE/Seaco, K Line. Names seen occasionally on the highways near our homes, here all concentrated together: riding on trucks, sitting in great piles, being carried by immense cranes. Nearby was a meeting of sea and land, but it was no longer a coast; we have transformed it here into an industrial complex.
Once underway again, here with leader Glenn Miyazono, husband to Sherry, a former Coastwalk board member and current Los Angeles County Coastwalk Coordinator, we walked through the waterfront area of downtown Long Beach and took our lunch at Pelican Pier. From there we continued on past vast marinas, these currently afflicted with the red tide. The color of the water was that of weak coffee. (Linda?s note: to me the color was of rust, or blood. It looked to me like a sea of blood washing into shore.) At the end of the marina area we took either to a concrete multi-use path or the wet sand at the water?s edge, and walked the beach to our end point. (Linda: here we continued walking ?off the record? to Sherry and Glenn?s home for a delicious dinner. We walked 2nd St., well known local shopping and coffee house area. Some of us took longer than others to traverse this route.) (Jon Breyfogle; photos by Linda Hanes)
Left: CTE hikers in front of Pt. Fermin lighthouse. Right: Crane and trailers in Port of Los Angeles.