Our Coastal and Marine Management class went camping last week at the Rancho Marino Reserve in Cambria. This place was amazing. We camped right on a bluff that overlooked the ocean and every night we could hear the waves crashing onto the inter-tidal zone. The stars were very easy to see because of the lower light pollution which made it even more beautiful at night because we could see the moon’s reflection on the water.
One of the days we went out onto the inter-tidal and measured limpets for a research project and the average size was 3.4 cubic centimeters. A limpet is a marine mollusk with a shallow conical shell and a broad muscular foot, found clinging tightly to rocks. Dr. Anderson and his colleague showed us what they looked like so we could measure them and we had 15 minuted to measure as many as we could before the sun disappeared. I found 13 limpets ranging from 2-4 cubic centimeters. We were using callipers to measure them, and it was my first time using one so it was a great learning experience. My friend Camilla found a couple abalone shells and one of them was red, which we had come to find out was because of a red algae diet. There were tons and tons of black snails, sea anemones, and tiny crabs making it very hard to walk from rock to rock. A few of us were slipping off the rocks because it was pretty wet and we were carrying a clip board and calliper which really made it tricky to balance and not step on sea critters.
The next day we got to go for a hike in the morning and see some washed up whale bones. The whale was fenced off so foxes and other animals couldn’t run off with the pieces. Joe, the man who lives on the reserve, asked us if we knew of anyone interested in putting together the bones to hang up for display in the big green barn. I think this would be a task for a paleontologist or someone super stoked about marine mammal anatomy. The bones are just sitting there so if you know someone interested it might not be a bad gig. and I think it’d be super awesome to go back there and see the whale bones hanging up in the barn instead of eroding away on the cliff.
The sunrises were unreal, and I am not gonna lie.. I am pretty jealous Joe gets to wake up to such a beautiful view every morning. Now if i can land a job like that and maintain a reserve on a beach bluff I think I could die happy.
On November 22, I visited the Hueneme Beach Park. It’s a sandy beach with some dunes, a park, a small restaurant, and more. There were a couple of people out enjoying the beach on a hot day in November. This beach is my favorite places to go to. I have been to the Hueneme Beach Park on multiple occasions. There are plenty of recreational activities that can be done here.
On the beach there are a couple of barbecue stations, a pier where some fishing can be done, two near by parks, and the restaurant Surfside Seafood. Upon further inspection there was quite a bit of trash near the barbecue stations. There was charcoal, some styrofoam and some plastics sticking out in the sand. I picked up some of the trash around the stations but there was a more charcoal than anything there. My favorite thing about this beach though must be the parks. The park on the beach has a memorial to Alaska Airlines Flight 261 which a large sundial with dolphins at the base and the names of those who lost their life. Near by is a small swing set which was occupied for a but while I was there by a family. People around were just relaxing and fishing that day. At the end of the pier, there was a group of people fishing.
The beach is surrounded by the military base, apartments, and a power plant. Near the base there is a wall of rock plies lined up with a trail next to it. The beach had different sections to it such as the surf zone, then the berm which then rose to the dunes. There are some small dunes growing, mostly near the parking lot. The vegetation and wildlife on the beach was low, not including the palm trees and grass at the park.
For the third and final beach blog, I have decided to talk about Pismo Beach. It’s only about a two hour drive north from Ventura. I am pretty familiar with this beach. My grandparents live pretty close and would take me whenever I would visit them when I was younger. My grandpa is a big fan of surfing and was able to do so into his 60s, until he had back surgery, and this was one of his favorite beaches to surf at. Apparently he wasn’t the only one who thought it was a great surf spot.
Besides the obvious surfboards on the pier, the first thing I noticed were all the surfers in the water. There was at least 15 people catching some great waves. It was a lot of fun watching them and seeing how they all would beat each other to get the next wave. There was even some paddle boarding, which was cool to see. You totally got the vibe that it was a recreational beach. Besides the surfing, there were people playing volleyball, which I noticed all the different beach volleyball attire that we had talked about in class, and there were a lot of families just hanging out.
I also noticed the houses that were around the beach. You could see some of the erosion in the picture on the left, and how it looks like the house may end up falling and being destroyed in the next few years. Then if you look at the picture on the right, it looks like there is also some erosion, however, it seems that they have built up some sand to try to protect from any more damage happening.
One of the last cool things that happened during this trip was that we ended up finding so many sand dollars. I couldn’t believe how many we were finding. There were piles of seaweed everywhere on the beach and if you looked around in it, you could find tons of sand dollars. It was so cool. If you haven’t been to Pismo Beach, I definitely recommend it; it’s totally worth the drive. Overall, this trip to Pismo was definitely a fun one. This class has really helped me to learn about more of the important aspects of a beach and how we affect the beach.
Sycamore Canyon beach is one of my favorite spots along the PCH. It’s kind of tucked away in a bend, but it’s usually where I end up while out for a drive. It’s such a beautiful place to sit and relax. The beach isn’t too long with big cliff-like rocks on one side, and an open tunnel leading under the PCH to a nearby campground on the other. The first time I really visited this beach was because of a sports team I was on. Every summer we would have a Hell Week before school started and the last day we would walk or run an 8-mile hike that eventually led us through the campground and out the tunnel to Sycamore Canyon beach, where we would have a barbeque waiting for us.
Sycamore isn’t too busy, but it does attract people with its picnic benches and fire pits. It’s a great place for roasting s’mores and hot dogs. This beach also gets a lot of attention in regard to filming movies or commercials. Many times, I drive down there and end up seeing trailers and cameras. It’s always interesting to see how they can turn the beach into so many different kinds of settings just by switching camera angles or adding different props.
Sycamore canyon beach is also a really beautiful place to watch the sun set, but once the stars come out it’s magical. I like to pick a table to lay on top of and watch the sky. I could lay there for hours because there’s no light pollution to take away from the beauty of the stars. I can just see so much more than what I’m used to. I went to CSUN for a couple years before coming back home, and whenever I would come to visit for a weekend, I would make sure to get out to Sycamore at night because in Northridge there was so much light from the city that I was lucky to see more than three stars each night. It really made me thankful and appreciative of where my home is.
After the lecture about coastal engineering I was very curious to see how the managed retreat of surfer’s point was doing today. I drove as far as possible behind the Ventura County fair grounds and parked in a small parking lot. This parking lot marks the beginning of the dune area that was created as part of the managed retreat. On the north side of the parking lot you can still find areas that were damaged by the storm that made the managed retreat project necessary. As I left the parking lot to walk down the boardwalk behind the dunes the first thing I noticed was how many people were there enjoying the beach and dunes. There were people on bikes, running, and (like me) walking with strollers. One aspect of this beach that I really liked was the mixture between nature conservation and public use of the space. There were areas of the dunes roped off for plants and animals as well as areas for the public to walk between the beach and the boardwalk. In one area was a beautiful raised wooden platform that twists through the dunes. Near this platform was a sign commemorating the managed retreat project and its supporters.
My son really liked playing on the platform. There was no one running or biking there, so he could explore more than he could on the boardwalk. The wind had also blown some sand onto the platform for him to play in.
Out in the water you could see all the surfers lined up ready to catch a wave. There were more surfers in this spot that I have ever seen anywhere else, but I am not a surfer so that is not saying much. The beach in front of the dunes was rocky and I am not sure if using rock to stabilize the beach was part of the managed retreat or not. There was enough space between the rock and the surf break to stroll down the beach but not enough to lay out a blanket and relax.
Over all I think the managed retreat was a success and the dune area that was created is a great example of how people and nature can coexist. All the information I say said that what was done so far was phase 1 of the project but nothing I could find said when phase 2 is supposed to start.
It was a beautiful morning, so I decided I wanted to go to the beach with some friends. There was lots of traffic on the pacific coast highway, but we didn’t care. We were to busy singing Beach Boys songs in a red convertible. Santa Monica is a unique beach in the sense that many street performers will line up on the pier to dance, sing and play musical instruments for the people who pass by. On the pier, there are ferris wheels, rollercoasters, and fair games. One minute you are eating an ice-cream cone, the next you are bungee jumping right next to the ocean. It is a carnival that floats over a beautiful scenic ocean. Like any respectable amusement park, this pier also has an arcade! It was full of vintage arcade games like pacman and donkey kong, but it also had modern stuff like Mario kart. We played a couple of hearty games of air hockey before heading out to see what else we could find. At the end of the pier, there will usually be several fisherman patiently waiting for their catch. On this particular day, my friends and I noticed that a younger fisher, about 10 years old, was catching the largest amount of fish, while the older fishers stared in disbelief. After taking some pictures overlooking the water, we ventured down to see the beach. We walked under the pier, which was beautiful! The light shined through the supporting beams making the water sparkle and shine. We took more pictures. One woman sold us watermelon that we enjoyed while sunbathing under a beautiful blue sky. The water was freezing, but that is to be expected when you live in southern California. We saw some sand crabs burrowing themselves into the sand as the water washed over them and some dolphins in the distance. On our ride home, we saw more dolphins diving in the water as if they were saying “Goodbye, see you next time!” Overall, my trip to Santa Monica beach was amazing. I highly recommend the journey for anyone looking for a lovely day at the beach, but also wants to run around in an amusement park.
Beach Blog 3
For my last beach blog, I am writing about the beaches of Bahia De Los Angeles, in Baja. The beaches in Bahia are a remote treat for anyone willing to make the drive from the US. Lying some ~400 miles south of the border the area is easily accessed in a day. My friends and I left seeking adventure in Baja and we found plenty of it in Bahia. We were going fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and off-roading. Coming well prepared for the often remote and rugged roads of Baja we set out early in the morning at 4:30 am to get to the border to retrieve our travel papers.
We were hoping to swim with whale sharks which frequent the area certain times of the year. After searching a few locations on kayaks we went out on a local tour panga run by a guy Marcos (Marcos Eco Tours). After fishing all morning we eventually went to go look for whale sharks, luckily we were able to find several in the waters of the south bay. It was awesome to swim with such big sharks and it is a very humbling experience. The largest one of the day we swam with out of about 5 was around 30ft.
The landscape of the area is very unique with a large island some 80 miles offshore, however, in the bay itself, there are around a dozen small islands. Some with unique geological features like sea arches. Even dormant volcanoes exist to the north on Isla Smith a beautiful island with several lagoons even mangroves. Near to that is La Gringa a large bay to the north of the area that is known for good fishing and whale sharks. We snorkeled and fished the area for an entire day.
Bahia has a special place in my life, it is an amazing place incredible beautiful and the people are utterly welcoming and friendly. If you get a chance visit Bahia De Los Angeles. I suggest either camping or renting a house at Campo Archelon run by Antonio (Tony). His father was long involved in conservation and Tony carries on that legacy.
Thousand Steps Beach is located in Laguna Beach. This beach has very distinctive features. Over the years of going to this beach, there has been less and less sand with bigger crowds of people every summer. It’s a really interesting beach to go to because when you first arrive you walk down what it feels like to be a thousand steps, hence the name. As you walk down the steep stairs you can see the beach and the ocean.
When you finally get down to the sand you notice at this time of year there are several tide pools all over the beach as well as a bunch of rocks. Even some large enough to sit completely in, they look like a mini pool. When you walk along the beach you notice sheer cliffs with houses above and sea caves that you can walk into. The last time I went I wasn’t able to due to the high tides stopping me. The rocks are always covered by some type of algae and sand crabs. The waves always seem strong and I always seem to see people surfing at this beach. Here is a picture of one of the sea caves but as you call tell it wasn’t safe to get to. Since its winter the waves will be stronger and higher tide. In the summer it is much easier to get to. Usually where the water is all sand and you can walk right into this cave and it’s like a tunnel with another opening on the other side. A lot of people in the summer you will see sitting in the tide pools soaking up the sun. In the tide pools many times you can find sea stars or sea urchin.
The last time I came here there weren’t as many people like in the summer since so many tourists will be here at that time. So there is much more room on the sand to relax and do recreational things, During the weekends you will see a lot of young people here playing volleyball and surfing. Whereas in the summer there is not much room to do these activities.
Pfeiffer beach is located in Big Sur, California. Big Sur is already one of my favorite places to visit but discovering this beach reached my excitement on a whole new level. This beach is best known for its purple sand, but there were so many other aspects that made this beach spectacular. I had read about this beach online but never expected to have so much overwhelming excitement when visiting. So first of all, when I visited Big Sur there had been heavy rain which caused a lot of landslides. It was hard to navigate when the highway and trails were closed off. But this didn’t deter me from finding this already hard to find beach. When I got to the beginning of the trail that leads two and a half miles in to the parking lot I found out the trail to drive on was closed. So I decided, we were still going to walk. Pfeiffer beach is located in Los Padres Forest so the hike inside was so beautiful. The streams were flowing, the animals thriving, and the plants flourishing. It took a long time to reach the beach but I would do it over again in an instant. The aesthetics of the beach were overwhelming, it was so isolated and peaceful. The rock formations in the water were being crashed with waves but brought a relaxing aspect to the observer. This is a very common photography spot because of the known “arch”. I watch the waves crash through the center for quite some time. Now onto the main aspect of the beach, the phenomenon of the purple sand. I was so curious, how is this happening?! So know I know from learning in this class that the sand derives it’s color from minerals in the rocks. While most beaches in Big Sur are composed of Quartz which gives the beaches the light color this one is composed of manganese garnet deposits. These deposits come from the surrounding rocks, included the cliff side behind the beach. This beach as so many interesting aspects and I would recommend everyone to visit and cherish it.
I love to travel, and have been fortunate enough in my life that I have been able to visit many places on this planet. Yet, my favorite place on earth is just down the coast from where I live, San Diego, California. I love it, and hopefully in the not to distant future I will be able to move down there and reside and even be able to afford to buy a place. My ex girlfriend and I use to travel down there often by train so we could skip the traffic. Her sister lives in Pacific Beach, and we use to take any opportunity to go visit her for a long weekend. One of my favorite things to do when I’m down there is walk the boardwalk on mission bay and onto mission beach. I love people watching and enjoying the sun. I like Mission bay and Mission beach because of the amount of foot traffic and people, I usually wouldn’t say that about a beach, but there is something about Mission Bach that I really enjoy. If you feel like walking the quiet part of Mission bay, you can, or take a dip in the bay, which is like swimming in a lake. Or you can go bar hopping along mission beach, or catch a few waves if your into surfing, or lay on the beach, or even walk the pier if your into that. Basically, I just love how much there is to do and how happy people are in San Diego because they live next to the beach and consider themselves lucky to live there. Its a type of lifestyle of basically living in your board shorts, tank tops and flip fops and enjoying every part of the San Diego beach and coastline that intrigues me so much. Every time I visit I don’t want to leave.