Posts Tagged ‘high tide’



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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San Clemente Beaches experienced a 6.37 high tide at 9:11 am on Sunday morning. Two Beachgoers enjoy the drama of an unusually high tide in San Clemente as waves reached public bathrooms at "T" street and the adjoining beach trail.


Since the first of the year the southland has had several high tides that seem to be related to two full moons in a normal cycle when we would only have one.  I got a tip to check out the high tide on Sunday morning around 10 am so I gathered up the cameras and headed out to see if I could find anything.  At first it didn’t seem to be anything unusual as I found that ocean water had filled up the Riviera Tunnel beach underpass.  In the winter its not an un-common occurrence and is usually a combination of rain runoff and a high berm where the  ocean that comes in, can’t get out.

I continued on the San Clemente Beach Trail towards the pier and saw that the open dirt area on either side of the railroad tracks was muddy and in some spots had standing water.  It has been a week since our big storm and it seemed that it should be dry by now.

I continued onward to Lost Winds Beach and noticed several spots where the normal bush covered  tundra looking solid berm at the edge of the tracks, the area between the tracks and the sand of the beach, was smooth and had a “washed over” look.  There was ocean flotsam up on the tracks and all around them on both sides.  High tide had occurred at 9:11 and it was now 10 am or so and I could see that a more than a few waves came close to breeching the berm and getting to the tracks.  It appeared that maintenince crews had been working filling in areas with dirt and sand bags where needed as well.  

Beachgoers were witness to the drama of an unusually high tide in San Clemente as waves reached public bathrooms at "T" street and the adjoining beach trail.


Further down the trail at “T” street, the public bathrooms had been solidly invaded by waves and sand, although several years ago the city had constructed a sea wall of sorts to prevent it.  Just behind the bathrooms, the beach trail crosses over the tracks and continues on the sandy side between the tracks and the ocean until reaching the pier about a quarter of a mile away.  

An Early morning runner on the San Clemente Beach trail passes by the under railroad drainage lines, between Lausen Beach and "T" street as waves from an unusually high tide pass thru on the inland side of the tracks.


Although the tide had receded somewhat from its highest point an hour earlier, several trail users had more of a hustle than expected to escape the surge and keep their feet dry.

Lost Winds looking across Riviera Beach to Cotton's Point.


The San Clemente Beach Trail at "T" Street looking north.

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