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Posts Tagged ‘beach’

 

 

Are you ready for your close-up Mr. Grunion?

DANA POINT, -(CA)- A small silvery fish was a big star to more than 300 adults and children who descended onDoheny State Beach late Tuesday night to see hundreds of grunions swarm the sand during the 20th annual Grunion Night.

Doheny State Beach interpreter Vicki Wiker and state park ranger Jim Serpa hosted the event, displaying a large collection of ocean and beach artifacts, including whale bones, seal skulls, otter pelts and small jars of sea water containing grunion eggs buried in sand. Serpa hoped the eggs would hatch by having visitors gently shake the jars to simulate an incoming tide.

All their eggs are in one jar.

Many people consider the famed “grunion runs” to be a myth, much like “snipe hunts,” Serpa said. That’s likely because they’ve picked the wrong nights to try to watch the 6-inch-long fish ride high tides ashore to mate and lay eggs, he said.

Grunions generally spawn the four consecutive nights after a new or full moon, when tides are highest. A typical run can include hundreds or thousands of grunions and last two hours. Runs can be seen on beaches between San Francisco and Baja California, Mexico.

It will take more than one grunion to feed this crew.

A good indicator that the grunions are coming is when birds like the black-crowned night heronappear on the beach several hours before a run and grunion “scouts” come ashore to check the safety of the beach.

“Once the scouts return and give the OK, they’ll come in, and at that point, nothing can stop them,” Serpa said.

Female grunions immediately bury themselves in the sand tail first, up to their pectoral fins. As many as eight males will encircle themselves around a female, depositing “milt” that makes its way down her body to fertilize the reddish pink eggs she has laid four or five inches below the surface of the sand. The mating ritual can take 30 seconds to several minutes as the toothless fish wait for waves to take them back to sea. The eggs hatch in the sand about two weeks later and the baby grunions ride the waves out to the ocean.

Serpa said state and volunteer efforts to clear Doheny of debris washed onto the beach from San Juan Creek are crucial to the grunions’ survival, providing them a clear path to the business at hand. Several Boy Scouts who helped during a recent cleanup showed up Tuesday night to watch the grunions.

Grunions spawn from March through August. They may be caught using only your hands and only during March, June, July and August – April and May are “observation only” months. The California Department of Fish and Game requires grunion hunters 16 or older to have a fishing license.

 

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Looking north to Lost Winds from Riviera.

SUNDAY SESSION:Looking north to Lost Winds from Riviera.

Somehow like a swtitch it happens and Fall begins.  Its colder at night and the sun sets a little sooner each day.  There is that dampness that lingers,  climbs over everything and doesn’t let go until late in the morning.  The full suits go on and sweaters are packed in the top of the bag for a trip to the beach. 

I like the light in fall; its soft, sleepy and slow.  Its not really a haze in the air but that everything seems heavier.  Summer tans start to fade and if you are anywhere near the beach, the smell of the ocean is closer.  The sharpness of summer is gone and I’m always kinda glad.

 

FiveBlocks

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Summer crowds at San Clemente beaches gather for fun in this view looking south from above "The Hole", during the first week in August.

Summer crowds at San Clemente beaches gather for fun in this view looking south from above "The Hole", during the first week in August.

I was coming down the freeway on Thursday and by the look of it, I had the feeling that it would make a nice shot.  Tower 5 at Lost Winds is in the foreground with Tower 4 , a little to the left  and up a bit.  Plenty of folks just having a nice time in warmer than normal water temperatures…not to crowded but not boring either…

 

The SDG&E reef barge in position and working off Seal Rock in San Clemente.

The SDG&E reef barge in position and working off Seal Rock in San Clemente.

 

FiveBlocks.

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An upset in the fianl dory leg of the IronMan competition.

An upset in the fianl dory leg of the IronMan competition.

I got down to the San Clemente Ocean Festival a little later in the day but in time to see the final of the IronMan Competition.  Its a combination of swim, run and dory boat on an individual basis.  I think Mitch Kahn gets this every year and this year he did not disappoint.
There are other events that went on through out the day and will finish up tomorrow late in the day.  I shot some crowds and people on the beach; it is always fun to see people enjoying themselves.
Crowds did not seem to be to big this year as it was somewhat overcast.  I saw a lot of people lined up at the train depot heading back home.  Hopefully tomorrow the sun will come out and more people will go.  I am sure from a competitor point of view the hazy overcast is just fine.
A girls surfing competitor gets a "cheater five" out for the judges.

A girls surfing competitor gets a "cheater five" out for the judges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A boys surfing competitor gets a solid ride during his heat

A boys surfing competitor gets a solid ride during his heat

 

 

A girl competitor walks down the beach for the begining of her heat.

A girl competitor walks down the beach for the begining of her heat.

 
An IronMan participant approaches an official for his "place".

An IronMan participant approaches an official for his "place".

Family and friends watch the boys surfing heat.

Family and friends watch the boys surfing heat.

The girls are in the water and ready to go for their heat, late on Saturday afternoon.

The girls are in the water and ready to go for their heat, late on Saturday afternoon.

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The traditional June gloom in San ClementeIt seems to me that when I was a kid and the end of the school year was at hand, the only thing to fear was the brutal 10 days or so of June Gloom.  Yes, I said 10 days…only.  June gloom as of recent times almost seems to start in April and doesn’t give up until the end of July.

 

Think back and you’ll agree.  The last few July 4th’s we’ve had have barely let the sun through.  Now its true they all mix together somewhat with age and everything going on but then, its no excuse to hand over a grey, dull summer.

 

Two weeks ago, the rain had me worried and I confess that at the house we’ve even had the heater on.  This is definitely not something I want the relatives in the Pacific Northwest, back east, Chile and Norway to find out about.  After all, we’ll see them all here at some point this summer and I prefer it if they are as envious as I can make them.

 

This week it seems to be clearing up by late morning but then mother nature, is full of surprises.  She’d like nothing more than that we get our hopes up and then dash them on the rocks.  I for one will wish for an easy entry into summer but nothing more; otherwise, we’ll be asking for trouble.  I know that no sooner than I have written these words and it will be labor day.  Shorter days will bring shorter memories. 

 

We had burgers on Sunday for dinner.  Even June gloom can’t hold down that rich smell of a neighbor’s bar-b-que, reminding us that no matter what the weather is, summer is almost here.  The dread of traffic and crowded beaches comes later.  First things first; our gas bar-b-que has had it and so I’ll be off to get a new one this weekend.  Like my dad used to say “…I wonder what the poor folks are doing?…”   

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The tunnel at Riviera Beach in San Clemente.Freedom is waiting at the end of this tunnel.  Soon it will be June and a lot of people will pass through here on their way to summer; it begins just past the concrete where the sand is hottest.  Sandals will be flicked off and put in a bag or a back pocket.  The biggest decision will be whether to sit to the right or the left.  Lips are licked for the salt that is already there and at the berm, most likely, a wave from family and friends will decide if the day is spent closer to tower four or to lost winds.

 The right or left at the beach today replaces the right or left at the stoplight yesterday.  There are no laptops or schedules other than when the legs and back are too hot to stand it any

 

                     “…no laptops or schedules…”

 

 longer.  Then it’s just over the feet, up to the waist or all the way in.  All the way in, arms out, floating down to the coldest water at the bottom and then rising up to the warm top layer.   More salt on the lips, on the teeth, in the eyes, and in the nose as well.  No one really seems to mind and everything is almost dry before sitting back down on a warm towel.

 

Cranky, worried and upset going into the tunnel and whistling a tune, coming out the other side.  A nap, a good read and a swim or two.  If it’s done right and you think about it, there is no reason why there shouldn’t be light at each end of the tunnel.

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 Bring up “Beach Glass’ in a conversation and you need to be ready.  The husbands’ “hrmphhhhh” and the wives’ “whoaaaaaa” will un-doubtedly  bring out the home collection in jars, boxes and maybe the latest cull from a jeans pocket.  Any novice that lives within 5 miles of the beach will tell you that whites and greens abound, all shades of blue are difficult to find and more likely you’ll find a mermaid than the “holy red”. 

 

There can’t be a dashboard, a kitchen sill or a bathroom toothbrush drawer that doesn’t have some kind of beach glass on display.  Most of the time it shines nicely in the sun, reminding us that a walk on the beach is just steps away but then there’s Scott and Elsa Harrison of San Clemente that are working hard to make it more than that.

 

“We were in Hawaii last year” Harrison says, “at this farmer’s market in Kona and I saw this beach glass bracelet…they wanted a ton for it and as I looked at it I thought I could do way better than that”

 

For the last year or so Harrison estimates he and Elsa spend about 20 hours a week hunting, drilling and assembling the beach glass into bracelets with pure silver wire.  Friends were naturally the first recipients and it seems that the Harrisons won’t have a shortage of friends to supply their unique, one of a kind bracelets.  Right now he has 3 designs: the “twist”, the “bangle” and the “bead”.    

 

We took our dog for a walk to Riviera on Memorial Day and spied the Harrisons from our usual spot on the old log next to tower four.  They moved back and fourth up the beach right at the shore line, intent on mining their molten sandy prize.  We watched them for a good 45 minutes before I couldn’t stand it any longer and made my way to ask what was up.

 

He showed me his technique with a homemade rake and basket tool and we philosophized on the finer points of beach glass hunting.  Elsa came by on a return sweep and showed me the product of their efforts.  At one point in the beginning of my conversation with Harrison I realized I knew him.  I explained to Elsa that we had gone to Concordia Elementary and hadn’t seen each other since we graduated from San Clemente High School in 1982.

 

Elsa stood back looking at Harrison as if it were the first time she had seen him.

 

“Wow, you’re old…and you look just like a triton with that rake….well you look like him in every way except for the abs…”she said playfully, smiling and laughing widely.

 

Harrison looked at her and pretended to jibe her with his beach glass rake, adding a “hardy harr harr” before giving up.  Elsa was already in the sand with one hand, another few morsels of glass for the project and Harrison, a little jealous, was right after her to see the score. 

 

You can call Harrison at home and talk to him about the “Sea Glass Designs” bracelets he has for sale.  Bracelets are $45= USD each and you might ask about his tye-dye t-shirts and sarongs for summer.

 

Scott and Elsa Harrison  949-361-9862

 

 

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