There’s something about the sound of the ocean; the smell of the salt water; the ebb and flow of the waves — it’s calming in a way that can’t be replicated. The air inevitably attaches itself to skin, hair and clothes, leaving beach-goers relaxed and salty.

Airplanes fly overhead, but they can’t be seen. Apparently June Gloom is in full swing, and the cloud cover refuses to relinquish its hold. Lifeguards quietly watch over the swimmers, occasionally offering words of caution.

The crowd splits the tide, from the lone traveling surfer who carries everything he owns to the family with the dog they weren’t supposed to bring on the beach to the budding surfers who can’t hide their excitement at new wet suits.

The waves are larger than in Redondo Beach, so it makes sense the surfers are out in abundance. It’s easy to tell the experts from the novices if you pay attention. All of them, though, are out in the waves, heads bobbing above the water. When the right wave approaches, many try and one or two stand, while the others look on in what seems like awe.

Two nomads naturally find each other and chat it up after taking a quick dip in the Pacific; a couple sneaks in a few kisses on the sand; and a pair of young moms attempt to tire their kids out before bedtime, running back and forth from the waves to the beach toys.

As the sun goes down, tourists filter out. The regulars stay, some start up grills or stake claim to fire pits for the evening hours, and she wonders if anyone notices the girl with a computer, quietly observing and taking their stories for her own.