Learning to walk

18. Thursday, 10 January. The mighty Pacific

sanclementeHi my beautiful Byron,

Thursday again. I found two lovely pictures from this week to share with you.
The winter light over the Pacific has been a picture. When the temperature drops in late afternoon, it looks like a mirror. This picture is San Clemente Island. (The bit in the middle.)  The US Navy own it and use it for their training exercises. Sometime we hear loud bangs from there. And I imagine they are testing some new bomb or some new type of sonic weapon.

The US Navy acquired the island in 1934. It is the Navy’s only remaining ship-to-shore live firing range, and is the center of the integrated air/land/sea San Clemente Island Range Complex. During World War II, the island was used as a training ground for amphibious landing craft. These small to mid-sized ships were crucial to the island hopping that would be required to attack the islands occupied by the Japanese in WW2. It is still an active sonar base (Radar to see all that goes on for many hundreds of miles around)  and has a $21 million simulated embassy for commando training.

There is a US Navy rocket-test facility on San Clemente. Some Polaris-program test rockets were launched from San Clemente between 1957 and 1960. The SEALAB III project took place off San Clemente in February 1969.

The US Navy uses the island as an auxiliary naval airfield, Naval Auxiliary Landing Field San Clemente Island. The main runway 23/05 is used for carrier training by the Navy. Other branches also use this airfield, including the United States Coast Guard. Pilots that use this airfield find it to be one of the most demanding airbases in the US, known for its high winds and dangerous terrain surrounding the runway

Catalina

Catalina

As of the year 2014, San Clemente is home to an auxiliary Air Force base responsible for locating Air Force fighter pilots near the California coast. The airfield is home to the United States Navy Seals training facilities located north of the runways. Navy Seals are the super tough guys in the US Navy. They train in all the super deadly things. They often say ‘The best of the best of the best of the best of the best.”

When I grew up I knew I would never be a navy Seal, but I did know two oceans. The Atlantic and the Indian. I could always tell the difference from a very young age because one is warm water and the other is cold. The Pacific is colder than even the Atlantic. as a child I would read about the Pacific in books, where it was frequently described as ‘The Mighty Pacific.’ And perhaps that is why whenever I look out over its endless expanse, I think of it as a mighty ocean. I lobe to photograph the light. look at the light in this picture I took yesterday. The Pacific looks like an orange mirror. I stare at it for minutes at a time. Mesmeric.

Funny. Every day I used to look out at the Thames. And enjoy some quite thoughts in this process.

The Thames. And home, in my letter of October 2018.

The Thames. And home, in my letter of October 2018.

I think there was not one day during my time in England (some thirty years before the family court theft)  when I did not take a moment to pause and watch the Thames flow past me. And now, with thanks to Adler/Amlot and O’Leary, for me, the Thames in its role as the backdrop to my daily meditation, is replaced by the Pacific.
They are quite different. Their seasonally changing color. The light that shines on them. The one has elegance and rolls with history. The other is mighty. And I see whales and and dolphins passing every season. Remember, in 2014, we saw whales and dolphins together in the Pacific?

Miss you,

Love you,

Daddy

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