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Archive for the ‘Sand and Shoreline’ Category

Can you come out and play?

Posted by Jody on February 27, 2013

Play time at McClures Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore

McClures Beach

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in,

where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”

~ John Muir, The Yosemite (1912)


Greg and I came across this  little pink shovel in the sands of McClures Beach at Point Reyes National Seashore. Not one other soul was in sight on this lovely, peaceful morning.

A Word a Week Photo Challenge – Zoom


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Posted in Northern California Beaches, Sand and Shoreline, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , | 14 Comments »

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted by Jody on February 14, 2013

A Kiss on the Sands

A Kiss Upon the Shore (©Jody Diehl)

Love’s Philosophy

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the Ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;

Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
in one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?–

See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;

And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?

~Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)


Posted in Sand and Shoreline, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Feeling Better for the Sand Between Your Toes

Posted by E.G.D. on February 13, 2013

I don’t know about you, but I happen to greatly enjoy walking around barefoot in beach sand.  This has very occasionally led to negative occurrences (one memorable occasion on Venice Beach in Florida, I stepped on an old piece of rusty barbed wire and had to get a Tetanus shot), but more often than not the experience has brightened my day and done me more good than a conventional foot massage.  Apparently the science community got the memo, because recently my mom (Jody) found an article on Wellsphere that discusses the health benefits of walking around barefoot.

Pacific Beach, San Diego, California (photo by Jody Diehl)

Pacific Beach, San Diego, California

According to the article, a “stimulating barefoot walk has a multitude of benefits from relieving stress, increasing balance, helping your brain to help you get a good night’s sleep, healing disease, eliminating headaches, eliminating joint pain and more. Research is only just beginning, but the consensus seems pretty clear. Taking off your shoes not only feels good. It is good for you… we get negative charged energy from the earth that combats inflammation and positively charged free radicals in the body.  Now, this information applies to walking barefoot anywhere, but there are already myriad health benefits for people who walk or run on beaches, even if they’re wearing shoes.  According to an article in the Middletown Patch, “walking and running are two of the best cardio exercises… Even better, though, is performing them on the beach in the sand. It is absolutely a superior work out than on the road or a trail as the shifting sand makes traction a challenge.  This causes muscle groups to work harder as you jog. Just walking on the beach in the sand benefits health.”  Of course, even that article notes thatbarefoot is the best way to go for optimum results.”  An article from Hello Magazine says many of the same things as the two previous articles, but adds in that sand and ocean water provide natural exfoliant for our feet and “will result in softer feet in no time, just like a home peel treatment!”  Really, I can see no downside to any of these things.



When it comes right down to it, I don’t need experts to give me a special reason to walk around barefoot on a beach, but I suppose that now I can feel like I’m somehow smarter for doing what I would have done anyway.  Three cheers for beach related ways to stay healthy- E.G.D.


Posted in Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Travel Theme: Shadows

Posted by Jody on February 2, 2013

Evening Shadows at the Shore

“I could never stay long enough on the shore. The tang of the untainted, fresh and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought, and the shells and pebbles and the seaweed with tiny living creatures attached to it never lost their fascination for me.”

~Helen Keller, The Story of My Life

Travel Theme: Shadows


Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sand and Shoreline, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Japanese Tsunami Debris: What Beachgoers Need to Know

Posted by Jody on January 31, 2013

Yaquina Bay, Oregon Coast

Yaquina Bay, Oregon Coast

Will you be heading to the beaches of North America’s West Coast this year? Beachcombing is one of the greatest pleasures for seashore enthusiasts, and the West Coast is well known for delighting us with a bounty of beautiful beach treasures! From driftwood to Giant Rock Scallops and sand dollars to polished agates, Mother Nature uses time, tides, and currents to provide us with the most fascinating finds.

Beachcombers in Hawaii, and from California to Alaska, might also expect to find an increased amount of ocean debris washed onto beaches over the next few years. According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), due to the massive 9.0 Japanese earthquake and devastating tsunami of March, 2011, tsunami caused marine debris is already arriving on our Pacific shores. (Check out NOAA’s Tsunami Debris Sighting map.)

NOAA is leading efforts with federal, state, and local partners to collect data, assess the debris, and reduce possible impacts to our natural resources and coastal communities.

There is no reason to avoid beaches. Radiation experts believe it is highly unlikely any debris is radioactive, and the debris is not in a mass. Beachgoers may notice an increase in debris near-shore or on the coast, adding to the marine debris that washes up every day. The public should continue to visit and enjoy our coasts—and help keep them clean.

Sign posted at Yaquina Bay, Oregon

Tsunami Debris Watch sign posted at Yaquina Bay, Oregon

Ocean Conservancy has a wonderful website which includes an abundance of interesting and informative topics having to do with the expected arrival of tsunami debris. Subjects include:


Tsunami Debris 101

Get straight answers to the facts and myths of tsunami debris and what we can do to help.


What is Tsunami Debris?

How can you tell tsunami debris from regular ocean trash? Our scientist has the answers.


Tsunami Debris Field Guide

Learn about the most common items that have been washing onto beaches in large numbers.

We always try to encourage our fellow beachcombers and shore dreamers to “know before you go!”

Tsunami DebrisFind it. Bag it. Leave it. Now we know!


Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Pacific Coast Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Travel Theme: Walls

Posted by Jody on January 26, 2013

The Galveston Seawall

 Every beach has a history!

On September 8, 1900, Galveston (Texas) suffered a devastating blow from a powerful hurricane. The storm surge washed over the entire island, knocking buildings off their foundations and taking the lives of  thousands of Galveston’s citizens.

Galveston Seawall, Galveston Island, Texas

Galveston Seawall, Galveston Island, Texas

On September 7, 1901, in an attempt to prevent future storms from causing such massive destruction and catastrophic loss of life, the Texas State Legislature approved an act providing for the construction of a seawall for Galveston’s Gulf of Mexico coastline. The initial 3.3 mile long segment of the new Galveston Seawall was completed on July 29, 1904. Standing approximately 17 feet high, the concrete barrier was engineered to be 5 feet wide on the top and 16 feet wide at its base.  The outer face of the Seawall was curved to carry waves upwards. Riprap was deposited along the base of the Seawall facing the Gulf Of Mexico in order to disrupt wave action and prevent the wall’s foundation from being undercut.

After the Seawall was completed, dredged sand and slush from the seabed were pumped into the city of Galveston to raise the ground by as much as 17 feet above its previous elevation! Isn’t that amazing?

Galveston Seawall Beach, Galveston Island, Texas

Galveston Seawall and Seawall Beach, Galveston Island, Texas

In 1977,  the Galveston Seawall was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 2001, the Galveston Seawall and the regrading of the City of Galveston were jointly named a National Historical Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Today, the pedestrian friendly, mural-painted Galveston Seawall runs for 10.4  miles along Galveston Island’s beautiful, sandy Gulf Coast beaches. It’s a lovely place to take a leisurely walk and enjoy the beachy views!

Galveston Seawall & Grade Raise – Texas Parks & Wildlife [Official Video]:

Additional reference: The 1900 Storm


Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

A Great Beach Ecology Resource: Beachapedia!

Posted by E.G.D. on January 16, 2013

Don’t let the name fool you: Beachapedia is not affiliated with Wikipedia!  On the contrary, it is an independent beach ecology resource that is staffed by a group of dedicated writers including “scientists, engineers and activists.”

Along the Oregon Coast

Along the Oregon Coast

Prior to this morning, I had never even heard of Beachapedia, which is a terrible shame!  In very little time, I learned from the Beachapedia vegetation page that vegetation on beaches falls into three different categories depending on where the plants grow in relation to the tidal area and the dune.  The plants in each category display certain patterns of characteristics as a result of their respective locations.  While I was at it, I also read an interesting little article on wrack, which The California Coastal Commission defines as “organic material such as kelp and sea grass that is cast up onto the beach by surf, tides, and wind,” and which is important to both plant and animal beach wildlife.  That article links to another very good article from the National Science Foundation called “All Washed Up and Somewhere to Go,” which I highly recommend any dedicated beachgoer read.


“Wrack” – Silver Strand State Beach, Southern California

Now, as you can see, I was looking specifically for “Wild Wednesday” wildlife material for this article, but Beachapedia has information on everything coastal-environment-related from A to W (X,Y, and Z apparently don’t start any beach related topic words).  It’s a really useful website, I think, especially if you’re looking to learn about the nuts and bolts of how beaches function.  Also, you never know when you might want a clear and very detailed definition of beach related terms like “estuary” or “neap tide.”

Galveston (Texas) Seawall Beach

Galveston (Texas) Seawall Beach

It never hurts to take a little time to better understand our beaches!  After all, whatever would we beachcombers do without them?  Happy beachgoing, everyone- E.G.D.

For more information on beach ecology, you can also visit these other Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches articles:

The Sand Beneath our Feet

Seaweed – Trash or Treasure?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

It must be a sign!

Tide Pool Etiquette 101

And to some degree or another, most  Wild Wednesday posts!


Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Travel Theme: Glass

Posted by Jody on January 14, 2013

A visit to Glass Beach is on many a beachcomber’s bucket list. The “sand” here is mixed with rainbow colored eye-candy! Being that this stretch of Northern California’s rocky coastline was (once upon a time) a municipal trash dump, the shoreline is now a colorful mosaic of wave polished ceramic bits and sea tumbled glass.

Old Glass Beach Finds

“Old” Glass Beach Treasures

Many years ago, when Greg and I first visited Glass Beach, the evidence of the citizens of Fort Bragg, California, and the surrounding area dumping household garbage straight into the ocean was stunning. Old cars (and their parts), ceramics, housewares, appliances and glass poked out of the bluffs and littered the beach. By the early sixties, attempts were made to control what was dumped, and the dumping of toxic materials was prohibited. Finally in 1967 plans were begun for a new dump away from the ocean.

Glass Beach Sand

“New” Glass Beach Sand

Today, the old dump has been cleaned up and what you’ll now find is beautiful, sparkling, sea glass-speckled shoreline “sand.”

Would you like to know more about Glass Beach in Fort Bragg (Mendocino County), California? Here are a couple helpful links: Glass Beach: Where Trash Turns to Treasure, “Top Ten” Mile Coast Trail

Travel Theme: Glass


Also: Fort Bragg, California

Getting There: From Highway 1, turn west on Elm Street (Denny’s is on the corner) and drive a few blocks to Glass Beach Drive. Park at the intersection and walk down to the beach.

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Monday Miscellaneous, Northern California Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , | 35 Comments »

Happy New Year!

Posted by Jody on December 31, 2012

OK, maybe it doesn’t come close to the Sydney New Year’s US$6.9 million fireworks extravaganza from the steel arch Habour Bridge, and it has nothing near the glitz of the First Night celebration with the well known Zambelli Fireworks spectacular over Boston Harbor, but it is a room with a great view and a fireworks show!

So, Happy New Year with all the glitter and glow from Waikiki Beach’s man made Hilton Lagoon (aka: Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Lagoon)! The ocean beach next to the lagoon, Duke Kahanamoku Beach, has been named the #2 beach in America for 2012 by the well-respected “Dr. Beach.”  This is where world famous Waikiki Beach begins.

The Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Lagoon is the setting of a free fireworks display, hosted by the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa, which takes place every Friday evening. It’s one fine show!

A room with a view, Honolulu, Hawaii

A Room with a View, Honolulu, Hawaii

Hilton Lagoon, Waikiki Beach

Hilton Lagoon, Waikiki Beach

View of the Hilton Lagoon Fireworks, Waikiki

View of the Hilton Lagoon Fireworks, Waikiki

View of the Hilton Lagoon Fireworks, Waikiki Beach

View of the Hilton Lagoon Fireworks, Waikiki Beach

The Hilton Lagoon has always been one of our favorite sandy spots on Waikiki. This family friendly, kid pleasing swimming and recreation center boasts five full acres of splashable fun that is open to Hilton Hawaiian Village guests and the general public, alike. It’s also the spot where you can catch a parade of brides and grooms posing for dazzling and dramatic wedding photos, with sun-drenched Waikiki Beach and iconic Diamond Head as their backdrop. This is the perfect place to catch those amazing Hawaiian sunrises, too!

By the way, do you recognize this unique building?  It’s the Ilikai, where Detective Lieutenant Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord), the head of a special state police task force, is standing in the opening credits for the original Hawaii 5-O. “Book ‘em, Danno.”

Here are a couple helpful links: Beachcombing on Waikiki Beach (includes family friendly freebies near Waikiki Beach)

Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Lagoon, aka: The Hilton Lagoon

Aloha and Beat Wishes for 2013!


Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Monday Miscellaneous, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

Posted by Jody on December 14, 2012

Delicate Coastal Sand Dunes

Delicate Coastal Sand Dunes

What threatens coastal sand dunes?

Coastal sand dune systems are highly vulnerable to disturbance by trampling. Pedestrians and motor vehicles can compact the sand and crush vegetation; for example, Native Dune Grass dies when its roots are crushed. Without the stabilizing vegetation, the sand is blown away and dunes disappear. This can leave the shoreline more prone to damage from storm surges.

Invasive species are a major concern for the ecology of sand dunes. Scotch Broom and European Beachgrass are two common examples. Because they are not native to the region, they often have no natural predators or other controls. Therefore, invasive species can create dense monocultures that crowd out other species. As they did not evolve along with all the other species in the area, they provide limited habitat values. Some invasive species are so well-established that their eradication is not feasible without substantial cost and effort.

Sand dunes can be destroyed when structures are built too close to the shoreline. As the coastline naturally erodes, these structures become threatened, and people often respond by building “protective” reinforcements such as seawalls. This can further degrade the beach habitat, and even distant seawalls can starve downdrift beaches of sediment (see also coastal sediment processes and altered shorelines).

Dune habitats are often affected by alteration of shorelines in other areas. For example, bluffs composed of glacial till provide sediment that is eroded by waves and transported by longshore currents to the sand dune beach, where it is deposited. If the bluffs are armoured to prevent erosion, with cement or rock, this sediment supply is cut off and the beach is gradually depleted of sand.

How can I help protect coastal sand dunes?

When walking on beaches with sand dunes, try to stay on the seaward side of the dunes, where the sand has been compacted by the tides. Stay on marked or established trails or boardwalks, when walking through dune vegetation, and observe signs.

Keep dogs under control and don’t let them dig in dunes or chase wildlife.

Plant native vegetation along your shoreline property, to help prevent erosion and increase wildlife habitat. Learn about other options for reducing erosion that use natural shoreline development techniques instead of hard structures.

Leave driftwood in place, rather than “cleaning up” the beach. Logs help to stabilize sand dunes, and provide hiding places for wildlife.

Get involved with a local community stewardship group that works to protect and restore sand dunes.

See other tips to help protect shorelines in general.

(Source: Capital Regional District)

We can all make a difference when it comes to the protection and preservation of our delicate coastal sand dune ecosystems. One for all and all for fun!

Have a great day at the beach!

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Delicate.”


Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »


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