How the Ocean Stole My Camera in Carmel-by-the-Sea

How the Ocean Stole My Camera in Carmel-by-the-Sea

This story attributes to how very Canadian I am, and how greatly the waves of the Great Lakes differ from those of the Pacific Ocean.

My husband and I marveled at the size of the waves as we walked along the beach in Carmel-by-the-sea. The biggest waves I had witnessed to date was during my time in Rio de Janeiro, and the waves of Carmel were close contenders. We watched many eager surfers head out with their surfboards, occasionally seeing a spec of a person within the waves before being effortlessly tossed back into the water and disappearing from sight.

We were thrilled to be back in the sunshine and warmth after days of the freezing cold in Yosemite National Park. As we walked down the dunes to the main strip of beach, the tide appeared to be a far ways away. “I’m going to put my feet in the water!” I excitedly announced, dropping my belongings on the sand. I left my husband in the dust behind me, and he watched in alarm as the tide rolled in fiercely. In a matter of seconds, the tide seemed to travel hundreds of metres up the beach.

The look on my face in that moment said it all – immense joy transforming into immense horror. I watched the tide pick up my camera bag and carry it out to sea.

Once we located my bag, my camera lay within, covered in sand and water droplets falling from its body. With my cheeks burning, I frantically attempted to wipe my camera dry and clean it free of sand particles. I decided not to turn it on right then, but give it some time to dry first and avoid the heart-sinking feeling of accidentally destroying one of my most prized possessions. I continued walking along the beach, trying to take my mind off things and feeling embarrassed at how preventable my mistake was.

A few hours later, I finally decided to test the fate of my camera, and sadly, it remained motionless and silent. Cheeks still burning, I brought it to the camera shop on Carmel’s main strip, and the owner informed me that it was unlikely to turn back on again, but luckily my nice lens was unharmed. So, what can you do not even halfway through your trip yet, but to upgrade and purchase a new camera!

That’s exactly what I did, and the new camera was lovely.

The lesson I learned, and fellow Canadian lake dwellers beware: never, ever, ever, place your bag of valuables on the beach of an ocean. The waves will roll in fierce and quick and belongings risk disappearing before your very eyes. It happens so quick that there is no time to do anything about it except watch in horror from afar.

Near the end of our trip, I unwrapped my old camera that I thought was destroyed by the sea, but lo and behold, it revived back to life and was working just fine. It likely needed ample drying time – days worth of drying time. I even managed to sell it for a great price once we returned home.

So, even though I got a new camera out of the ordeal, was it worth the panic and embarrassment? I’m still not sure yet!


My passion for capturing memories through the lens of my camera, my love for food and the joy I find in reflecting on my travel memories using a pen and paper results in a series of blog entries filled with warmth, pure happiness and inspiration. I hope to share a little bit of myself and my adventure of life with you.


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