So, I ended up working pretty late last night and heading home I could tell I was going to be in for a treat with the sunrise. I took tons of photos and when I got back, what did I see? Blownout sky and no detail in the beach rocks (I'll post a picture later once I get the time). Now, not all was lost, and some of the pictures I seemed to even recover pretty well in Lightroom. However, I'd rather just get the lighting right so as much detail as possible is available in the image.
I already knew I needed a good tripod and ballhead (Manfrotto 055 and Markins Q3 on order). However, I also realized that I need is a good graduated ND filter and circular polarizer. And so, after the $500 tripod order, and I now spend another $250 on nice filters (had cheap filter before, now I only get B+W).
Oh the lessons we learn. I'll report back after I use the new equipment, and hopefully with some nice pictures.