Tuesday 20th January 2009
"It's a stretch of sea water separated from the sea by a low sandbank or coral reef", I said to my dog Amy as we walked north of Agate Beach towards Big Lagoon. We would be having close encounters with four lagoons this week so I thought it advisable to explain the word to Amy as she often had difficulty with complex concepts such as "sit", "stay", and "stop chasing that seagull". I might as well have saved my breath as she took little notice and continued to pull me along the sands even though I protested that our chosen route took us along the east side of Big Lagoon up the great Redwood Highway. Amy had different ideas, she wanted us to walk up the narrow strip of sand and shingle that separated the wild Pacific from the still Lagoon waters. "Hang on, Amy, I'm not sure it is safe", I said as she dragged me north. "Perhaps you can't get through", I tried. She pressed on. "Perhaps it's private property", I declared. She quickened her pace. "Perhaps dogs aren't allowed", said I throwing it my trump card. She trumped my trump so we kept heading up the sand spit.
According to the guidebooks, gold-seekers swarmed into this area in 1849 when discoveries were made along the Klamath and Trinity rivers. Prospectors attempted to mine the sand spits, but managed to extract very little gold despite considerable effort. It was only when we were a mile or two up the spit that I got to the paragraph which warned that particular care was needed as several times each winter the lagoon barrier is breached by waves. From there onwards I kept my eyes neurotically on the waves to our left, imagining with each incoming wave that the narrow strip of sand was getting narrower. Amy seemed relaxed about it and happily ran around searching for gold. By the time we passed the half-way mark it was me pressing ahead and Amy being dragged along in my wake. When we eventually got to the northern end of the sand spit she stopped and gave my one of her looks. It was as if to say, "what's all the fuss about, it was a lagoon, separated from the sea by a low sandbank .... ".