The Beach


Author: Swede

Ormond Beach

On my way home from the harbor, I stopped at Ormond Beach, but took a slightly different route than most. I always hear about this Superfund Site and I am able to see it from the road, but never went to investigate it. Right before these gorgeous dunes, there was the Superfund site, along with a paper plant waste water treatment plant. The closet to the beach was definitely the Superfund site. Looking around the lot and where I parked, it was obvious why many people did not come here. It was littered with trashed and off in the distance you could see homeless camps. If you listened, you could hear the ocean waves crashing on the beach and the occasional yells of the homeless people. While I was observing and taking the in scene, a tourist couple pulled up.  I was surprised to see anyone else here. So I picked up some friendly conversation. They were looking for some good bird watching spots. I directed them to the beach near Ventura Harbor and McGrath. The man further inquired about Ormond beach, and I informed him further down was a much safer entry. He insisted this was the one he wanted though. Looking around at the dunes, I started to feel an overwhelming sense of anger. He was right this would be an amazing bird watching spot. With the trash and superfund site, this place stands a chance to be a wonderful Southern California sandy beach preserve. The dunes in the distance appear very natural for the most part. Many of plants looked like they were noninvasive. There was even a sign informing about the various sea birds in the area. If the city spent some money to clean up this area it could be educational place. However, the key word is money. Money does not just grow on trees, it has to come from someone’s pockets. As someone who pays tax dollars in Ventura county, I would really like to see more effort be put forth to clean up this beach. I would love to see it become a beach where I can take my nephew to show him how natural sandy beaches look.

Leo Carrillo

Leo Carrillo State Beach is a very interesting beach with some of the best tide pools. It is a beach that can be classified somewhere between inner rocky tidal and sandy beach. The southern section of Leo Carrillo is where most of the tide pools are located, along with it’s famous large rock. The large rock, or body rock as some call it, is one of the main surfing spots at Leo Carrillo. 

Many new surfers to Leo Carrillo find the the rock to be nerve wracking, and so they make the mistake of sitting to far away from it. While body rock can be an issue, it actually has many more benefits to it. For one, it provides a good line position for surfing. Those who are waiting for the larger sets tend sit just slightly beyond body rock, while those looking for more of a quantity of waves, sit right next to it. Another advantage it provides for surfers, is that it breaks the wave energy, which gives a nice, mushy spot to paddle out.  Other than just a good surf spot, Leo Carrillo is also a fairly healthy and educational beach. During my visit, the tide was high, leaving very few tide pools to be discovered. However, when the tide is low there are tons of tide pools, teaming with crabs, snails, sea slugs, anemones, fish and the occasional octopus. When the tide is unusually low, it can also be possible walk out to body rock and discover the various critters leaving there. In my visit, I was surprised that I encountered multiple families and people other than surfers at the beach. For being a Wednesday in October, I thought the beach was fairly well populated.  Even though the beach had a fair amount of people at it, it still seemed to be fairly healthy. There was various kelp wrack wash ashore along with a large piece of drift wood which looked like it may  have originally been the roots of a tree.  Seeing an unnourished beach is refreshing because it reminds us of how nature should be. During my trip, I also noticed almost no trash. This could be because it is during the off season to visit the beach, or the fact coastal clean up day was fairly recent. Either way, Leo Carrillo is a great beach that can be educational and fun at the same time.



Isla de Magdalena

Isla de Magdalena is located in Baja California Sur on the pacific side. The island guards Magdalena bay, which is a 50 km long bay. This large bay is one of the many bays, which the gray whales use for their winter migration. Due to the vastness of the bay, there is very little human activity that exists on Isla de Magdalena. At one end of the island is a mangrove swamp. Near the entrance of the mangroves exists a small fishing village, where there is a large sandy beach. During the day, the village seems almost completely deserted with the exception of a large dog. Once past the breaking waves, the water on the beach gently laps the shore. Depending on the tide the current at the beach may be very strong or very weak. I used the tide to my advantage while paddle boarding through mangroves during one of these sleepy quiet days. As the tide was still coming in but coming close to back, paddle as far back as possible. I found hidden among the mangroves trees, huge white dunes. We parked our paddle boards, and spent several minutes running up to the top of dunes and sliding down them. The sand those dunes were made from was very white and fine. It reminded of the sand that would be seen in the Caribbean. After playing on the dunes, we paddled out of the estuary with the rushing tide. While paddling, you could see various halibut and stingrays flying out with the tide as well.

Paddling Out of the Mangroves

While staying on the isla de Magdalena we were camping in tents. Most of the island near where we camped was made of lava rock. There were a few coves, where the waves ate away at the rock and left a sandy beach behind. Each of the sandy beaches varied. Some had very fine sand while others had almost pebbles for sand. Because there was very little human presence, most of the beaches contained the beaches were teaming with animal life. Crabs scurried around the rocks, while coyotes left their track prints through the sand. There were pelicans that seem to enjoy on specific beach in particular. The beach had a large rocky point which projected out into the surf.

Sandy Beach

The entire goal of my trip to Isla de Magdalena was for surfing. Because the island is pretty exposed to all directions of the pacific, it is able to pick up many different swells. On top of that, the spot is controlled to only allow twelve tourists to camp at on island at a time. This leaves the three different surf spots very uncrowded. During the time I went the only people on the island were me, my dad and one other guy. Despite not being much surf, I spent a lot of time paddle boarding, snorkeling, and hiking. The trip was a well deserved two week break from society. It allowed be to read a book from front to back, which I had not done in a very long time. As well as return to basics and get out of my fast pace lifestyle.

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