Sparkle Sunday

After the rain, the hills are technicolor green and the lagoon is full of shiny sparkles.

I think the line in the water is from the tidal flow, but I’m not 100% sure…

Monster Waves at Cortes Bank

I’ve lived in Southern California since high school and never heard about this mythical surf spot at Cortes Bank, about one hundred miles west of San Diego.

We’ve all heard of the giant waves at Mavericks in Northern California which sadly claimed the life of Mark Foo in 1994, but this location was brand new to me — not that I’ll ever see it or surf there, considering I don’t surf at all, but I love all things ocean-related.

Apparently, about ten thousand years ago, an island used to exist in that spot called Kinkipar by native Americans, the ancestors of the Tongva or Chumash Tribes.

Presently, it’s entirely submerged, the top rising to within three to six feet of the surface with nearby shoals catching the largest swells on the planet from the North Pacific.

Monster swells that generate waves moving at incredibly high speeds as they move from the deep ocean, over a mile deep at the base of the bank, into a series of shallow reefs made of sandstone and volcanic basalt.

These photos of Nic von Rupp (amazing professional big wave surfer) were taken last week at Cortes Bank.

Because of its location, estimates are that the waves move fifty percent faster than comparable waves along Oahu’s north shore.

They are arguably the largest and fastest waves on Earth. As Bill Sharp remarked after the first time it was surfed in 1990 “It was like something out of Waterworld.”
https://briantissot.com/2016/01/26/cortes-bank-the-largest-wave-on-the-planet/

From Nic von Rupp’s Facebook page; photo credit to @sharpxxl & @100footwave @mcnamara_s @mamaunearthed @joelewis @vincentkardasik,

.

.

.

Near Death Experience

This is a cautionary tale to be diligent, alert, and always pay attention when you’re doing something as simple as walking…

Since we’re between storms, this was a beautiful morning for a walk. As I headed toward the beach, there’s an intersection with a four-way stop. (For those of you who know Carlsbad, it’s Chinquapin and Adams.)

At the time I safely proceeded to cross at the crosswalk, there were no cars. As I was almost all the way across the street, three-quarters of the way to the other side, a small-ish SUV caught my eye because the car didn’t seem to be slowing down to stop at the stop sign and I was directly in the line of fire.

It seemed as if she was planning to roll through the stop sign and hit me!

I stopped, yelled “HEY!” as loud as I could, which got her attention and she screeched to a halt, inches away from me.

She looked extremely flustered, surprised and guilty; proof that she had absolutely not seen me. I know I’m small, but I’m not invisible. Sheesh.

After that, I emitted a few dozen choice words and tried to get her license number as she sped off but not before I saw that she had a photo of a baby hanging from her rear view mirror. She was a mom and might have even put her child in harm’s way.

That’s a close enough call with death for one day, or at least a close call with a potentially painful accident.

The moral of the story is to stay alert and don’t trust that a driver will pay attention or even obey simple rules of the road.

Anyway, I’d like to thank my guardian angels for protecting me one more time!

First Full Moon of 2023 and BIG Surf!

Tonight, this full wolf moon occurs with the sun in Capricorn opposite the moon in Cancer. The full moon is a time of culmination and the promise of fulfilling intentions set during the new moon.

The Pineapple Express, atmospheric river rain event here in California is over for now, although more wet weather is forecasted for next week.

There was talk of waves of up to sixteen feet for today, so I went down to the beach but here in Carlsbad, they were only about six to eight feet.

This morning:

A lifeguard told me there had been no rescues here, but further south in Cardiff, waves were definitely in the twelve foot range, with high surf expected again next week with the next storm.

It was super crowded; lots of people not only with cameras for pics and video, but to take advantage of the healing power of a little vitamin sea and abundant sunshine!

A Royal High Tide

Last week’s King Tides created the unusual sight of flooded marsh and wetlands.

Here at Agua Hedionda, freshwater creeks drain into a low-lying area meeting the sea. The ocean pushes tides and sands against the land as the creek drains its fresh water and sediment into the sea. This mix of fresh and salt water forms a brackish environment. The salinity varies with the seasonal influence of rain and storms.

Sometimes the tide is so low, we can walk all the way around to the south side where there’s a sweet little beach, but not that day!

With all of this recent rain we’ve had (and more on the way), freshwater basins appear and fill the normally dry land surrounding the lagoon.

After all these years, this is still one of my favorite views. We see the lagoon, freeway, train tracks, and Pacific ocean.

A Stormy Start to 2023

SoCal didn’t receive as much rain as they did up north, but we still had an impressive amount of sky water during our recent storm.

Northern California saw a historic nearly six inches of rain while we had two inches over the weekend with more forecasted this week. That’s a LOT in a short period of time, due to a phenomenon called an atmospheric river.

An atmospheric river is a narrow corridor or filament of concentrated moisture in the atmosphere. Other names for this phenomenon are tropical plume, tropical connection, moisture plume, water vapor surge, and cloud band. Wikipedia

During a brief dry period, we checked out the big windy waves. Fresh air feels so purifying and cleansing. A walk on the beach is a great way to start a new year!

Sand, sun, clouds, waves, even some blue sky.

And just like that, it began to rain again.

Check out this video…it was super windy, too!

Peace, Serenity, and Joy

That’s the feeling I get from an afternoon walk around Agua Hedionda Lagoon. It’s the kind of holiday celebration I love.

This is the perfect spot to breathe and contemplate centuries of Native American history.

For ten thousand years, these rolling hills and canyons surrounding the lagoon provided shelter and food with an abundance of native plants and trees.

Indigenous peoples spent their winters making salt and gathering shellfish for food, jewelry, tools, and trade.

To the Luiseño, this area was Palmai, or “place of big water.” The Luiseño culture is noted for its mysticism and religious practices.

From “Seekers of the Spring – A History of Carlsbad” by Marje Howard-Jones:
“It was a hot and dusty afternoon when Don Gaspar de Portola and Father Juan Crespi called a halt by the banks of a tidal lagoon. According to the padre’s journal for Monday, July 17, 1769, the party had left San Alejo to the south at three in the afternoon. They had traveled one league before descending into a valley where alders sheltered a deserted Indian village. ‘We named this valley San Simon Lipnica’, he wrote. Taking special exception to the scent of decaying fish and other debris, it was the soldiers who unwittingly christened the lagoon for posterity: ‘Agua Hedionda,” the ‘stinking waters’.”

The Native American peaceful coexistence with nature created a culture whose openness and adaptability left them vulnerable to aggressive invaders, another tragic story of desecration, destruction, and appropriation.

Battered, Bruised, and Beautiful

While other parts of the country feel the effects of a brutal winter storm, it’s sunny and relatively warm in SoCal.

Relatively, because I’m freezing even though it was in the mid-sixties today. I’m in a coat, scarf, and beanie. As much as I love to be outside, I HATE to feel cold.

This courageous Mourning Cloak butterfly savors the rays of the afternoon sun on a random soccer ball just before the coastal fog rolled in.

Mourning Cloaks live longer than most butterflies—ten months or more— so I hope this one finds a sheltered spot during next week’s forecasted rainy weather.

Battered, bruised, but still beautiful, and glorious to behold as she warms her wings.

Looking Toward the Horizon

What a shiny December morning in SoCal!

Astronomically high tides known as King Tides will appear just before Christmas, forecasters say.

This phenomenon, which describes what are typically some of the highest tides of the year, are scheduled to occur on December 23 and 24, and can cause coastal flooding.

Wintry Gloaming

The setting sun around the lagoon was especially exquisite. It was dark by 5pm, oh my.

Does it look chilly? It was.

The forecasted 60% chance of rain dwindled to 20% and we didn’t even get a single drop, but the clouds were spectacular.