Recently for ESRM 210 Physical Oceanography, I was able to have the opportunity to attend our class beach field trip which was located at Point Mugu State Beach, right off the historic and scenic Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). The PCH is such an iconic highway, and it’s worth the drive just to witness California’s coasts and beaches. Also, a pleather of state park property, from my own understanding there’s Point Mugu State Beach, Point Mugu State Park, and Point Mugu Naval Air Station. Accessibility came to mind, realizing that from our campus it took barely 10 minutes to get there. The Point Mugu beach I’m used to is the one at Point Mugu Naval Air Station, where I’d typically go, not only for the beach but also for camping.
I have classes back to back, but there was plenty of time to execute all the tasks we needed to do for that day. Access to the beach itself was effortless, the parking was open, no one was there, and on top of that it was clear as day. We began lab by diving into our table groups and then continued by doing the following tasks; measuring the sea level and tides, identifying swell direction and understanding how waves approach the shore, and lastly identifying the beach’s composition in sediments.
Although it was a lab field trip for the intended class, a lot of what we did was citizen science work, general task that even the public can do to learn more about their beaches and beach processes. We learned to measure tides and sea levels, as well as finding out the composition of the sand. In one of the images attached it’s a hole we dug that showed the different sediment layers, one main mineral I recall from the sand was quarts. Seeing sand at 1x is completely different from seeing it through a handheld magnifying glass. Doing these types of trips and activities was giving me better insight to the physical process of the beach, and physically seeing and running through why the beach functions as is does makes concepts clearer for me. I really appreciated the trip since it allowed me to get a better perspective on why beaches are significant and how they can directly impact us as individuals. Realizing that some people in this country will never understand what beaches are like, or what it’s like to experience the sea breeze, or even seeing what the ocean itself has to offer. This gave me a better appreciation.
More thoughts began to fill my mind as I realize that it was more than an exceptional day to go to the beach. Which made me wonder. Why weren’t there many people at Point Mugu State Beach? The beach was clean, the weather was serene, and the accessibility was straightforward. Also, what other classes come out here? Being apart of this class was a great opportunity, I like doing hands on work, and I believe that more people should experience and learn more about what CI has to offer, but also just beaches itself.