Ebb and Flow

It was too hot too early to walk the full six mile round trip to the Pacific Ocean and back, so I settled for a longish trek around the lagoon with detours to observe it from different perspectives.

I ended up walking mostly all the way to the beach anyway and stopped at Rite Aid to buy myself a treat but nothing looked fun or appealing or was small enough to fit in my little backpack, so I continued on my journey.

Looking east from a secret side street overlooking Snug Harbor and the swan boats on Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

It wasn’t even 9am and the little beach was full of families enjoying Father’s Day and paddleboarding and kayaks. Thank goodness there’s no gigantic mall marring the view on the south shore.

Well, well, well, it seems like we have a very low tide, too, combined with our drought situation.

It’s not often that one could literally walk all the way around the lagoon to the beaches on the south side. I was wearing new shoes and didn’t want to ruin them in the muck, but for once it was entirely possible.

Kumeyaay Lagoon View

I like to walk here and imagine the native population who lived in this area a couple centuries ago. Did they gather berries and seeds and grind flour in a metate nestled in the warm sands by the lagoon?

On this full moon day, I’m wondering what they thought when they looked up. With no city lights to get in the way, I bet they saw millions of stars alongside the moon and all the other planets and constellations.

The Kumeyaay, also known as Tipai-Ipai, or by their historical Spanish name Diegueño, is a tribe of Indigenous peoples of the Americas. (Wiki)

The story I tell myself is that I’m walking the same paths the Kumeyaay took and we are cosmically connected by the same sun shining on the waters of Agua Hedionda Lagoon, minus the intrusion of the fencing, of course.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, if you have just a bit of rain, you may even get to spot a rare phenomenon called a moonbow. A moonbow is just like a solar rainbow, but is created by moonlight (rather than sunlight) when it is refracted through water droplets in the air. Moonbows only happen when the full Moon is fairly low in the sky, so look for one in the hours after sunset when the sky is dark.

Peaceful Lagoon Views

Every single time I walk to the lagoon, I’m continually grateful that we saved its beauty and historical significance from being raped by a disgusting LA developer who wanted to build a shopping mall on the south shore.

Only in Carlsbad would a completely out-of-touch city council support a project so harmful to the community and the environment, totally annihilating the significance of this land.

What a travesty that would have been!

Rancho Agua Hedionda was a 13,000 Mexican land grant given in 1842 by Governor Juan Alvarado to Juan María Marrón. (Wiki)

Before the Spanish plundered their homeland, Agua Hedionda Lagoon and the surrounding lands were once the sites of two densely populated Luiseño villages. The Luiseño people lived and worked along the shores of the lagoon, making tools, preparing food, engaging in ancient ceremonies and holds possible sacred grave sites.

I don’t remember reading this at the time, but in 2005, centuries old remains of two horses and a burro were found on the land on the south side that is now populated by a hotel.
https://www.baltimoresun.com/sdut-centuries-old-bones-of-horses-unearthed-in-2005jul17-story.html

Serenity…

Looking up…

Unlikely Friends: Egret and Ducks

On my walk today, I looked through the fence into the culvert that drains into Agua Hedionda Lagoon and saw a pair of white egrets. One flew away, but I was able to snap a pic of this beauty. Look closer and you’ll see he’s sharing a bit of land with two ducks.

And then this other handsome sun-glistened mallard decided to swim over and join the fun.
Co-existence peacefully without social distancing!

The late afternoon light intensifies the male’s colorful plumage that helps them attract females.

Maybe they’ve forged a friendship while they forage together for food. It could be possible even though I learned that egrets (and herons) can and do eat ducklings, but I watched their interactions for quite a while and didn’t observe any aggressive or frightened behavior. It was all peaceful and serene, just like my wishes for happily ever afters.

Runaway Kayak

Since I recovered from the side effects of my first Covid-19 vaccine, I walked to the beach on a foggy Sunday morning.

I noticed a lot of police and fire truck activity on the bridge overlooking Agua Hedionda Lagoon so I walked over to one of the officers to ask what was going on.

He told me that someone had reported an empty kayak had washed up along the shore and they were following protocol to search for anyone who might have fallen off and needed to be rescued and offer medical assistance.

It’s very possible it was simply a case of a runaway kayak that had come loose from wherever it had been stowed, but they were in full on search and rescue mode.

I left after a while because it didn’t look like they needed my help (haha) and walked back home.

As I walked away, a woman stopped to ask me what was going on. She was maskless, so I told her I don’t speak to people who don’t follow the mask mandate, and kept going. Yes, her mouth dropped open, but I stand by my comment.

It’s simple. Wear a mask!

Subsequently, I learned they searched for more than two hours and didn’t find anyone–or at least I assume they didn’t because there was nothing on the news. If I hear an update, I’ll post the info.

P.S. Me, police, fire, and rescuers were wearing masks. There’s no excuse NOT to follow county guidelines. I hate it too, but I DO IT.

Fog + real ducks in a fake pond.

I had to get up at the crack of dawn to walk before the devil heat returns.

Lucky for me there’s a deep marine layer and so much fog that it’s impossible to see across the street from my house. The fence around the school is barely visible; that’s how moisture-laden the skies are right now. Normally, it’s possible to see all the way to the lagoon from here, but not today.

It’s an hour-long walk around the lagoon and up the hill, and I hurried to beat the emergence of the fiery ball. All-time heat records were broken yesterday; it’s easier to comprehend nuclear fusion creating a core temperature of 270 million degrees on days like that.

These are real ducks in a fake pond on the street where all the paddleboarders park. They built this water feature and have since tried in every way to deter ducks from using it–but here they are. It’s literally feet away from the lagoon which is a natural body of water; how could they expect wildlife NOT to enjoy it??? Duh.

Hello, ducks! Have a wonderful swim. Welcome to Carlsbad!

Pandemic Journal 2020: Walkin’ around my ‘hood

It’s Easter Sunday and that always meant a traditional day hike or walk to the beach or a camping trip to the desert.

This year was a bit different because of the pandemic, isolating to protect ourselves and others from Covid-19.

But the beach always beckons. Well, not exactly the beach because it’s now closed, but non one can deprive me of a view of the magnificent Pacific Ocean.

My round-trip walk is about 6.5 miles, maybe a bit longer because I took a detour to include pics of Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

For those of you that didn’t get out for a walk today, here ya go!

It looks like an advert for a hallucinogenic (LSD) but that’s an ALTERED PERCEPTION haha. That’s just the way the light hit it. The sign really said “Beach closed.”

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And just in case you didn’t take the hint, this signage made it extremely clear…

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And if anyone is STILL clueless, this sign and caution tape is even more specific…IMG_9132

But here she is. Mother Nature. The Pacific Ocean. No waves. I bet a million dollars if there was a solid 4-6 swell, those waves would be packed. No one can keep a surfer from the water. That’s essential to life.

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I took the long way home around our Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Pretty daisies, the lagoon, and the power plant off in the distance.

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One of my favorite views; the lagoon and the ocean.IMG_9136

All the rain created a mudslide on Adams, the street around the lagoon.IMG_9137I’ve never before seen Adams closed at Park due to a landslide! Crazy times we’re in.

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And finally back home. There’s really no place like home. Dorothy was right.

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A Full Moon and a Lost Whale

The Full Sturgeon Moon rises tonight. A perfect time to set intentions and believe in magic!

I wonder if these intense lunar energies had anything to do with a baby gray whale who lost his way in our little beach town entering Agua Hedionda Lagoon from the ocean.

I happened to be in the right place at the right time with my lovely Canon and a decent lens and was lucky enough to snap these photos.

SeaWorld came to assess the situation and told me that he didn’t seem to be in distress; he was spouting every couple of minutes or so, which is completely normal, and he was rubbing his body against the rocks to try and dislodge all of the barnacles.

I did a little research and learned this about barnacles…
from https://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/gwhale/Hitchhikers.html:

Gray whales are more heavily infested with a greater variety of parasites and hitchhikers than any other cetacean. Imagine carrying a load of hitchhikers on your back that can weigh several hundred pounds! Gray whales do this all their lives. Who’s riding, and why?

Big Batches of Barnacles
Those patchy white spots you see on gray whales are barnacles. Grays carry heavy loads of these freeloaders. The barnacles are just along for the ride. They don’t harm the whales or feed on the whales, like true parasites do. Barnacles don’t serve any obvious advantage to the whales, but they give helpful lice a place to hang onto the whale without getting washed away by water. Barnacles find the slow-swimming gray whale a good ride through nutrient-rich ocean waters.

As larvae, the whale barnacles swim freely in the ocean. But they time their reproduction so the larvae are swimming in the water of the nursery lagoons when the baby whales are born. Then the larvae jump aboard the whales arriving in the lagoons–as well as the newborn calves—to start their lives as hitchhikers. The most common barnacles on gray whales are host-specific, which means they occur on no other whales. One type of barnacle, Cryptolepas rhachianecti, attaches only to gray whales. Once this type of small crustacean has settled on “its own” gray, the barnacle spends its whole life hanging onto that whale.

Life is good if you’re a barnacle. Snug inside their hard limestone shells, the barnacles stick out feather feet to comb the sea and capture plankton and other food for themselves as the whales swim slowly along. As the young whales grow, the barnacle clusters grow too. Gradually the barnacles form large, solid white colonies. The colonies appear as whitish patches, especially on the whale’s head, flippers, back and tail flukes.

Whale biologists look at the pattern of barnacle clusters in order to tell individual grays apart. This is possible because no two barnacle clusters, like no two human’s fingerprints, are alike!

When the tide changed, he finally made it out beyond the jetty waves; hopefully he finds his mom and doesn’t wander into shallow water again!

Just another amazing day in paradise. So much magic and beauty to be grateful for!

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Whale or SHARK?

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My own little embellished-with-sparkles-gray whale rock is much happier barnacle-free, don’t you think?

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Dear Carlsbad, Oh What a Year It’s Been…

I posted this on Facebook today:

One year ago, I showed up at Carlsbad City Council as an thirty-year resident who had finally had it with the way this city was being manipulated by outside developers. The final straw was the possibility that a monstrosity of a concrete mall was to be built on Agua Hedionda Lagoon. NO WAY, I thought. I didn’t even have a speech written when I pushed my way through the crowd, but I knew it was time to step up and speak up. That was the night I spoke about “not being impressed by men in fancy suits with fake tans.” I may have walked in to those hostile chambers alone, but walked out with the new and lasting friendship of a tribe of hundreds and hundreds who soldiered on to save the lagoon as we’re saving Carlsbad, one council seat at a time. Much love, appreciation, and gratitude to our TRIBE.

Yes, the lagoon is safe FOR NOW. But there will always be the threat of over-development and that’s why we stand vigilant, never again complacent to the machinations of our self-serving local government.

Here’s my speech in its entirety:

“First, I’d like to make a brief observation; other than the farm workers at the strawberry fields, Caruso’s soft focused Utopian propaganda video had no people of cultural diversity represented. Kind of crazy, right? I mean, when you really think about it? What’s that all about?

[This refers to a video shown by Caruso Affiliated. Big bucks in play here.]

Mayor and council, I need to make myself particularly clear. 

I’m not impressed by fancy suits and ‘healthy’ fake tans.

My family and I are vehemently opposed to the development of Agua Hedionda.

Agua Hedionda is a sensitive resource and ecosystem that needs to be saved and protected and restored, NOT built upon and destroyed.

I love to shop and I don’t want Nordstrom built on the lagoon when we have a perfectly good mall that needs the promised renovation.

No matter what or how we were duped in 1986 and 2006, that should not mean this deception should continue.

For thirty years, I’ve watched you and other councils systematically destroy land and native habitats in Carlsbad.

This needs to stop.

Enough is enough.

My family and I vehemently oppose all building on Agua Hedionda.

Enough is enough.

Leave it alone.

Shame on you Mayor and City Council. 

Shame on you all.

And finally, Mr. Blackburn, we met privately about the pet store in the Westfield mall that sells puppy mill dogs and you PROMISED me that when the mall was renovated and all the stores were closed, that store would be gone and wouldn’t be allowed back. But it’s still open. You promised and I feel betrayed.

Do the right thing, would you?”

More to read…

https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/08/10/something-sorta-stinks-in-carlsbad/?iframe=true&preview=true

https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/09/26/power-to-the-people-cos-sometimes-the-only-answer-is-a-revolution/

https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/09/28/carlsbad-referendum-signatures-stun-caruso-city-council-pals/

 

Something Sorta Stinks in Carlsbad

Agua Hedionda Lagoon is poised to become the backdrop for yet another nauseating acquisitive gluttony of commerce in an outdated mode of brick and mortar.

This is NOT what Carlsbad wants OR needs.

I stand in firm opposition to Caruso Affiliated 85/15 plan to build a Nordstrom-anchored monstrosity of a shopping center on the lagoon at the strawberry fields, in complete and utter disdain for its ecological and environmental importance to the sensitive ecosystem.

boatonbeachIn SoCal, we live very close to a lagoon called Agua Hedionda, (not the uber-romantic tropical blue lagoon in Kauai where my husband and I spent a magical pre-honeymoon in 1993) but this little lagoon of ours was named by the first Spanish explorers. The odor they reported might have come from a nearby Indian village, a sulphur spring, or possibly from decayed matter on the shores of the lagoon.

If you’ve ever been stuck in the muck, which is like quicksand in some spots, or if you’ve tried to wash the dried mud off a dog, you’d know it has a distinctively pungent odor.

Stinking waters for sure.

Still, it’s important historically for the Kumeyaay Native Americans AND the environment, and many of us are disturbed and concerned about the rumblings of development and a shopping center.

The developers seem to be trying to circumvent the standard process and place the development directly to the voters through the initiative process.

Hmm…something else smells in Carlsbad, don’t you agree?

Did you know that in November 2000, Agua Hedionda was designated as a critical habitat for the tidewater goby?

The San Diego Reader published a compelling article about this potential development: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2015/may/29/stringers-carlsbad-strawberry-fields-development/

From the article: Some say the initiative tactic used by big developers is a ploy to sway a generally uninformed electorate; or, in some cases, hoodwink them with slick or misleading campaigns. Additionally, councilmembers usually get a little nervous when angry mobs of voters show up at public hearings, usually opposed to large-scale development projects. Thus, councilmembers are more likely to follow public sentiment and vote against a project.

But Carlsbad residents should have seen this coming ten years ago, when voters passed another initiative, Proposition D. The measure set aside as permanent open space 300 acres along Cannon Road, which included some of the strawberry fields and the hills above the lagoon. Some Carlsbad activists say voters were duped, thinking open space was a good thing, but not realizing the rest of land could then be rezoned as commercial.

Learn about Prop D: http://www.smartvoter.org/2006/11/07/ca/sd/prop/D/SierraClubWalk4

Just because some of Carlsbad voters may have been mislead by the 2006 Prop D’s real motives is no reason to give up and allow this shopping center on the lagoon under the power lines.

And come ON, do we really need MORE traffic congestion?

SierraClubWalk3

While I dug around for more information, I discovered an interesting read from 1976, California Department of Fish and Game U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s coastal wetlands report, The Natural Resources of Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

I discovered some interesting data about how important is was — and IS —  to protect the lagoon’s rich environment and heritage; to preserve and enhance its natural resources.

Read it here: http://aquaticcommons.org/552/1/natural_resources_of_agua_hedionda_lagoon.pdfagua hedionda1976

Excerpts from the study:

Long-range resource management in the southern California lagoons and estuaries must be based on an understanding of the interactions of ecological factors involved, including human use.

PROBLEMS AND CONFLICTS OF USE
Development
The greatest threat to the present status of Agua Hedionda Lagoon and its environs is the continuing pressure for development of the lagoon and its watershed. The demand is for three principal types of development: 1) recreational 2) residential 3) industrial.

The City has prepared a very good and quite complete environmental impact report (EIR) that defines land uses in light of the environmental information available on not only the natural resources of the lagoon, but also on water and air quality, agriculture, aquaculture, archeological sites, energy conservation measures, as well as noise, traffic, visual resources, utilities, community services and recreation facilities. The EIR on the specific plan also speaks well to the relationship between local, short-term uses of the resources as opposed to preservation, maintenance and enhancement of the long-term productivity of the environment of the lagoon area. The specific plan EIR also enumerates the environmental effects which cannot be avoided if the project is implemented. These include: 1) a decrease in the amount of open space, 2) alteration of natural land forms, 3) removal of a small portion of the remaining natural vegetation, 4) displacement of some of the resident animal populations and partial destruction of their habitat, 5) an increase in erosion potential through vegetation cover removal, an increase in demand for recreational facilities, etc., 6) some problems in water quality maintenance and 7) increased human encroachment on sensitive natural and scenic areas. The EIR reflects the City of Carlsbad planning department’s awareness of and concern for the area’s natural resources. For the EIR also contains many sound mitigation measures for the impacts on the environment identified in the report. The EIR went into the review process in June 1976, and will be reviewed by several appropriate agencies, including the Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Which brings us to right back to that odor, the stench of back door politics at work.

A couple of groups have emerged to help organize those of us who not only do NOT want our city to be further sullied by unnecessary development that’s killed most of what made Carlsbad unique, but is troubled by Caruso’s attempts to bypass the city’s usual planning and public hearing process and circumvent city municipal codes.

rosecarlsbad copyWhat can we do?

  1. GET INVOLVED!
  2. Send the Carlsbad City Council a PINK ROSE and urge them to let the people vote on the Caruso Affiliated Agua Hedionda 85/15 Plan. (1200 Carlsbad Village Dr. Carlsbad, CA 92008) (I brought a rose with a note attached to the council offices but the receptionist didn’t really didn’t want her picture taken as she accepted it.)
  3. Join Carlsbad Locals Against The Agua Hedionda 85/15 Plan https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carlsbad-Locals-Against-The-Agua-Hedionda-8515-Plan/782521181866712?fref=ts
  4. Join Citizens For North County http://www.citizensfornorthcounty.org/
  5. Attend protests, meetings.
  6. Vote/recall these politicians out of office!