Once again, we headquartered at Pismo Beach State Beach. Saturday's highlight was a drive to north of San Simeon and a walk out to an elephant seal rookery for plenty of close ups of these amazing animals. We got to see the whole drama - males fighting over harems, little ones expired on the beach, baby seals still unscarred by life and accustomed to photographers. And once again, as every year, we had rain on Saturday night.

After dinner, a campfire marshmallow roast, and then I gave a tour of the highlights of the winter sky with the LX200 10" scope. Saturn, the Orion Nebula, M35, M41, and a visual identification of the major constellations. The kids were shocked and awed! Very cool...

Part of the motivation for me to do this trip was the lucky coincidence that a rare and bright occultation of a star by the asteroid Pandora crossed over Pismo Beach on Saturday night. Other IOTA observers across the L.A. area covered the southern part of the path, and I anchored the northern end. Despite some major problems with the scope electronics system, I was able to get solid timings of the event. Big Science did indeed happen!!

Morning family bonding

Abbey strikes a pose

Aliya preparing to inhale her Lucky Charms

Doh! Not the Lucky Charms!

C'mon bro... Smile!

...I see a half-smile developing

A pine cone - that's what was needed!

Onward... to San Simeon and the Elephant Seal Reserve.

Men are so predictable!

Here's two fighting for a chance at...

...this hottie on the beach?

Lunch at San Simeon included plenty of kids play

Dave's Pismo Clam puppet, always good for a laugh...

Abbey playing "velcro ball"

The beach at San Simeon

Jenn and Sam...

...monkey'ing around

Photoshop'ing the day's haul of pictures for the tonight's slideshow

A spooky blonde ghost haunted our campfire

Aliya enjoys a Zen moment


Coffee cake - one of the 4 food groups, right?

A study in smiles...

A special tree - a Kid Tree!



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