I had no expectations as we set off from Sausalito to check out Stinson Beach early yesterday morning but soon fell in love with it though my constant comparison to Northumberland got on my wife's nerves - this was like Beadnell Bay, the fog over Tamalpais like crossing the Pennines and Redwood Creek like Cragside. The American twist was to come across a 42ft fin whale that had washed ashore. Within a couple of hours there are two TV crews, a couple of print journalists and a radio reporter. It died. The autopsy later in the afternoon was followed with views from a helicopter on local news. The biggest creature we had on Beadnell Beach wad a dead grey seal. As I returned to the car I wondered about the Tsunami Warning signs around the beach and looked out to sea when a loud alarm was sounded. We headed back to Stinson this morning to hire kayaks only to find we could not enter the water due to sharks being spotted 300yds offshore. I know all this as I recognised the Park Ranger from the day before and asked a few questions. At 1.40pm, he told me, he saw a shark with what looked like a seal in its jaws. The protocol required that the beach would be closed for five days. Visiting America really is like stepping into a movie for us Brits ... we did a wedding last week which was a cross between 'Bill and Ted's Great Adventure' and 'Parenthood'. This week has yet to turn into 'Jaws' or 'Crash'.