A Morro Bay Morning

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I was up before dawn, one of my favorite times to photograph. My time in California was dwindling. I came to one of my favorite locations in Morro Bay to catch the sunrise hitting Morro Rock. Sometimes, the sun seems to set the rock on fire with a golden glow. That was not to be on this day, but I captured a scene that became my favorite image of the trip and of my favorites of all time.

I was standing on the dock at Anchor Park, my camera was set up on my tripod and I was sipping coffee, trying to keep warm in the December morning chill. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a man rowing his sailing dinghy, bow to shore, from his ketch anchored in the bay. He pivoted the boat as he got closer and I realized there was a dog in the stern. The dog was motionless, intently focused on the approaching shore and the relief that would come with it. In the still air I could hear only the creak and splash of the oars. As the man tied his boat to the dock, his dog sat patiently, his thick fur glistening with dew in the cool morning light. We greeted each other; he told me his “woolly mammoth" loved coming ashore for his morning walk. The man was barefoot in the 50 degree temperature, his feet red from the frigid water in the bottom of the boat. After making the dinghy shipshape, they walked off for their morning respite. I looked for them the next day, but they were nowhere to be seen.

Sailors and their dogs. Few relationships are as devoted.