I have been visiting Big Sur for over ten years now. Every time I park my car, step out and smell the fresh ocean air it triggers a home feeling in my brain. I visit Big Sur every year for the culture. So many activities are going on such as, paddle boarding, kayaking, and my favorite camping/hiking. Camping/hiking at Big Sur is a whole different experience to me. With a couple of different options to choose from it can feel overwhelming where to set up camp. My top two areas would be Kirk Creek Campground and Limekiln State Park. Kirk Creek Campground is considered one of California’s most scenic campgrounds, so be prepared to reserve a spot months before your visit. The wait is well worth it though! With a beautiful ocean view, open grassy areas, and shade. Right near the campground you can find the Kirk Creek which flows right into the Pacific. Limekiln State Park is no where as busy as Kirk Creek. The benefits is that it is quieter and low key. If you take the trail down you will discover likeliness hiding in the redwood forest. Now as for the beach scenery, I highly recommend visiting Pfeiffer Beach. It is the main beach at Big Sur so it does get packed but if you can get there early to grab a spot , it’ll be a sunset that is indescribable. Sand Dollar Beach is the longest and widest beach so it is definitely worth checking out as well. Many surfers choose that spot to ride waves and if you paddle board you can head out a little outwards and have a nice calm ocean. At Big Sur you can find many food spots that contribute to the culture. Places such as Nepenthe and Big Sur bakery are the main food locations to visit. You have Henry Miller’s Big Sur legacy to contributes to the culture, the library is more of a bookshop with a peaceful garden that tourists have been visiting for years. I strongly believe that Big Sur is one of the beaches that defines California and makes our state unique.
Spending an afternoon in one of California’s most populated beaches, Santa Monica is home to many tourist’s ideas of how a “California Beach” is supposed to look like. With the boardwalk inches away, the palm trees sitting behind the beach and the easy waves for a quick swim, this California beach is a perfect touristic getaway for our foreign friends. Unfortunately, due to the amount of tourism, the beach is overfilled with an abundance of plastic, trash and street sellers that leaves the beach worn out at the end of the day. Regardless of the amount of activity that occurs during the day, the beach’s view in the afternoon does not sell itself short. As the sun sets in the easy waves it makes for a magical date out before hitting the pier for a night of adventure on the rides. Because it is a touristic site this beach does go through grooming to keep the sand nice and even, the sand is also very fine and thin reflecting the easy access to walk through.
Although I did not get in the water myself it was easy to see that this beach was more of a beach to swim and have fun instead of a surfing beach. The waves were gentle just enough for one to get in and enjoy the tide, its long shoreline allowed for families to play in the water without worrying about the danger of getting dragged in along with the waves. Returning to Santa Monica reminded me of the first time I had enjoyed a day at the boardwalk and beach with my family when I was only sixteen years old. I live in Sonoma County which is six and a half hours away and the idea of Santa Monica and its famous boardwalk was only an idea in my head. Once arrived in this beautiful California getaway I realized just how much of the “Cali living” I was missing out in, living up north.
My family and I walked the boardwalk and the entire Santa Monica beach, five years later, returning on my own I realized just how much it has changed. The beach is still an angelic view for those of us who do not visit one as often, but aside from the stereotypical California aesthetics, it was enjoyable to see families out playing in the water with their children and begin a tradition of coming to the beach and jumping the waves as they hit the shoreline. Although it was not one of our most beautiful beaches it does provide a great example the Southern Calfornia culture.
Along our California coast pacific storms create large ocean swells with damaging consequences, coastal erosion is a consistent threat to any structure build along this coast. The city of Ventura has learned from experience and is implementing innovative solutions with dealing with these issues. Down at the Ventura Pier and Promenade off of Ventura’s California St, the beach is sandy but very quickly the west end of the beach just north of the Pier, is entirely made up of large pebbles. Though these large pebbles were not brought here by some natural force, they were placed on the beach, along with geotextiles and concrete seawalls to protect our coastal structures. As you walk along the concrete path heading north you quickly notice the sandy beach almost completely disappear, a bit further down the path the signs and extent of erosion are even more prevalent. Large pieces of the existing concrete path have fallen into the ocean, exposed underlaying geotextiles are now slowly ripped away contributing to micro plastic pollution, and any remnants of the once sandy beach are nowhere to be found. Several years of doing the same thing over again, of consistently rebuilding the damage caused by coastal erosion has the city of Ventura looking for better more sustained solutions to the problem. The Surfer’s Point managed retreat project proposes that the bike path and parking lot be pushed back further away from the beach. This would restore the natural buffer zone along the coast, the fairgrounds property would be protected and the new parking lot will treat and filter storm water resulting in increased water quality and a more natural beach. On top of what was the parking lot and bike path, is a layer of cobble stones covered with sand with dunes and vegetation on top of that. These dunes stabilize the beach and restore a more natural beach. This type of project is really the first of it’s kind, moving away from building harden structures, it protects public access to the beach and accommodates rising seas. This being the most heavily used public space in Ventura, the economic value of a vibrate beach is very important to the city.
Lens: Biological, Environmental, Educational, and Community
This trip was a Channel Islands University and RJ Frank Middle School collaboration called B-Wet. This project was being conducted in order to have a teaching opportunity with younger students. By splitting up into groups according to each activity, each student is given a hands-on opportunity to gain knowledge and demonstration of environmental issues occurring in tide pools, streams, and vegetation on this beach. My group went on a nature hike by the sea cliffs. We also discussed different types of birds species with the students and had them shout out what they thought certain bird species were. The second and third activity took place in the tide pools. We used grids placed over a designated area in the tide pool where certain species could be found. There were crabs, sea anemone, starfish, and sea cucumber. The next activity was a scavenger hunt to discover different sea creatures down the shoreline. The last activity was a journey upstream, looking at rock formations and a variety of vegetation that transports rocks into their deposit sites. Also looking at the erosion preocesses over a period of time, allowing for the students to envision what it once looked like before droughts. Overall, this experience is one I will remember forever. Teaching kids about the environment around them and how they can be apart of the solution was truly amazing. I would suggest everyone to visit this beach and take in its true beauty.
Two weekends ago, I went on my first trip to Santa Rosa Island with my GIS class. Although we went to learn about mapping etc., I came out of the trip with a different perspective of the beach. I can’t remember the last time I went a few days without my phone or communication with people on the mainland. Although it did make me somewhat anxious, disconnecting from reality was much needed. The lens that I will be using today is the spiritual lens.
For starters, whenever we had free time I made my way down to the beach. With no phone, all I could really do was take in the view and the beauty. At that point I was grateful that I didn’t have a phone to distract me from the beauty of the beach. As I sat on the beach, I realized how lucky I was to even be on an island with such beautiful waters. The reason I chose a spiritual lens was because as I sat on the beach I began to think very deeply. It made me think about all the things that matter in life are not material or physical things. Living in a society where owning expensive shoes, cars, clothes, etc. defines “success”, I began to think about what I believe really mattered. Getting to know new places, meeting new people, and inner peace is what I felt really mattered. It overall made me appreciate sitting on a beach with so much history.
The reason I say history, is because of the structure of the beach. In Dr. Kiki Patsch’s Physical Oceanography class, i learned that throughout the years, sea floors rise creating a new sort of shelf. It was my first time actually noticing that natural process. It was apparent that the shelf was sea floor before because of how fragile it looked. As I took this into consideration, I thought about how I was literally sitting on a mini time capsule. I was sitting on a beach with so much history behind it and this made me realize that ALL beaches have an insane amount of history to them. This beach trip alone allowed me to appreciate the beach because of the sense of peace and gratefulness I got as I was there. (unfortunately, my phone was low on storage so I wasn’t able to save my pictures I took on the actual beach, but this is me on a hike with the ocean view in the back.)
My first beach blog will be on about my visit to the Ventura Harbor Beach. I personally had never been to this particular beach before the Beach Clean Up. On the day I believe I was looking through an environmental lens because I was out there to clean up the beach. I actually arrived very late to the Beach Clean Up because I had just gotten a cold so I missed out some of the larger pieces of trash But because of this I really had to look closer into the environment. I Mostly stayed on the beach looking for anything hoping I would come back with something that the trip wasn’t just about me walking on the beach aimlessly for an hour. On my search for trash, I noticed how the beach plants and the sand dunes. How the waves crashing onto the rocky shores. To the left of it a small cliff with a sandy beach with many waves crashing onto the shore. To the Right a calm sandy beach with families enjoying the view. It wasn’t until looking did I notice the trash. Many pieces of black foam, paper, styrofoam, and plastic. All the trash that I gathered was mostly small bits and pieces no bigger into the pinky fingernail. All the pieces that I gathered were all trapped around ground squirrel holes, tangled in the roots of the beach plants, and tangled in squirrel fur around the beach plants. It was also apparent that some inconsiderate people were taking advantage of the Beach Cleanup as I saw some people litter all over the place.
It was these moments that really opened my eyes to the environmental lens because of how litterbugs were throwing their trash wherever. This would later end up being eaten by seabirds or taken into the ocean where sea creatures will either eat the pieces or continue to stay afloat in the ocean. Eventually, it’ll end up back on the beach where more beach animals will get at the pieces. Seeing where all these pieces of garbage really make you aware where the trash goes when thrown away improperly. Overall Even though it doesn’t look like it in the picture I had fun
For our first blog entry I have decided to reflect on my visit to Broad Beach in Malibu, CA. I had visited this beach a week prior to writing this blog entry. The purpose of my visit was to attend a field lecture with Dr. Reineman, our topic of discussion was beach loss. In the case of Broad Beach in Malibu, beach loss comes in many forms including physical loss of sandy beach coastlines and loss of public access to the beach itself. For my first blog post I will be discussing both forms of beach loss and the factors resulting in said loss.
The first form of beach loss I’d like to discuss is the physical loss of the sandy beach coastline. Coastal erosion and sea level rise are some of the first reasons one might think how a beach can possibly disappear; but from what we’ve learned in class, beaches never stay the same and are at constant change. Although the first two reasons listed above are contributing to this loss, broad beach has greater reasons for the drastic loss of sediment. On major factor of sediment loss in the coastal zone is due to the development of homes within the dune region of a beach, the development resulted in a major loss of natural coastal armoring. To combat this issue, developers decided to create artificial coastal armoring to protect their private investments (homes) but failed to realize the lasting consequences to sea walls, a coastal armoring technique. Overtime the sediment had gradually washed itself away bit by bit, season by season. What is now left is a sliver of the once full glory of Broad Beach.
The second form of beach loss came from an economic standpoint; residents along the Broad Beach Rd. have taken extreme efforts to limit public access to Broad Beach. Along the shoreline there are two official public beach access points along Broad Beach, each of which is poorly advertised and barely visible from the public beach goer. In a sense the residents have created a private enclave along public coastline, the public has the right to access the beach up to the mean high-tide line which is considered a common law. Anything above the mean high-tide line is then considered private property depending on the location. To sum this up, the public has the right to access Broad Beach if they are not trespassing above the high-tide line or onto private property. Residents have used a variety of techniques to discourage visitors to Broad Beach, most of which include limiting visual and physical access to the coastline.
I had managed to find one of the public access points and was able to snap a couple photos of the diminishing coastline.
El Pescador Beach
By: Kylie Lesko
Last weekend I visited El Pescador Beach in Northern Malibu. A dirt trail and stairs provide access to the beach from PCH. There is a small parking lot and parking is also available on PCH. The stairs leading to the sand are becoming worn down over time from the weather, tide, and foot traffic over time. El Pescador is one of my favorite beaches that I have been visiting regularly for years. As time goes by I have noticed the sea level continue to rise higher as I notice the visible sand decreasing. There are properties on the beach that are getting closer and closer to the sea. A lot of houses have staircases down to the beach which are getting closer and closer to the waves. Because of the location of these properties, when visiting the beach it is easy to think about climate change and sea level rise. This is a small beach with rocks on both sides separating it from the other beaches. These rocks are full of crabs, sea enememes, and sea shells. I also saw three dolphins in the water swimming together. When visiting El Pescador this most recent time I focused on observing it through an environmental lens. Because it is the end of summer and the beaches have high traffic this time of year, I noticed a lot of trash on the sand. There were a lot of beer can/bottles, food/snack wrappers, plastic bottles, cigarette butts, etc. My friends and I pick up trash whenever we go to the beach so we tried to pick up as much as we could. I think more beach cleanups are necessary during the summer months when the beaches are so busy. This is one of my favorite beaches because it does not get as busy as the other beaches on PCH. It is a peaceful and makes it easy to focus on the nature surrounding you because there are not as many people there. El Pescador is a great beach to relax at if you want to avoid the crowds and focus on the scenery surrounding you.
The beach I visited is Robert Meyer Memorial State Beach which I found out is made up of “pocket beaches” along the city of Malibu. These beaches are known as hidden jems around Malibu but can be crowded during the summer. These pocket beaches are surrounded by million-dollar homes in Western Malibu. Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach is made up of three pocket beaches, I visited all of them as I made my way down the Pacific coast highway.
Pocket beaches are and formed between headlands in coves of rocky shorelines. The shape of a pocket beach is determined by the formation of the surrounding bedrock and the forces of waves, currents and tides also determine the type and amount of sediment deposited. Out of the three , I first visited El Matador State Beach which I found by following the long dirt trail to this rocky beach. Here I found great ocean views and sea caves. Next was La Piedra State Beach, what amazed me at this beach was the sandstone cliffs and reefs all around. Lastly was El Pescador State Beach, this is the spot for surfers who want the unpopular spots. There’s plenty of open space within this cove which makes it feel like you’re in your own little world. Surprisingly, all of these pocket beaches seemed to be spotless with very little trash because the people and county do everything possible to keep the world famous beaches clean for the community and visitors to enjoy
The beach I enjoyed the most was El Pescador State Beach because it was considerably less crowded than the neighboring beaches. Exploring this beach I found it has nice soft sand and some rocky areas with tide pools to explore. The goal of my visit was to find a new place that I can routinely come to and just have it be known as the “spot”. That way in the future Im not always contemplating which beach to come to in Malibu, and i think with El Pescador State Beach I have found my “spot”. Its hard to find but the beach is quite and the waves are huge and if you want a beach to your self this is the place.