“The beach is not a place to work; to read, write or to think.”
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
Posted by Jody on September 1, 2014
“The beach is not a place to work; to read, write or to think.”
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
Posted by Jody on August 26, 2014
“There’s a beach in San Francisco?” We get that a lot! In fact, it’s only a very short jaunt from Fisherman’s Wharf to this popular stretch of sand! Simply head east on Jefferson Street, and you’ll find Aquatic Park Historic Cove and the exceptional city-side Aquatic Park beach.
This entire area is part of the National Park Service’s San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Lots of words…even more fun!
Here you can bike, run, swim, paddle board, play in the sand, or just watch the world go by:
The next time you’re in the City by the Bay, you can use this handy National Park Service site to help plan your visit to San Francisco’s Aquatic Park Cove beach: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. And you’ll, too, be singing ~ “I Left My Heart in San Francisco. High on a hill, it calls to me…”
🎶 “My love waits there in San Francisco
Above the blue and windy sea
When I come home to you, San Francisco
Your golden sun will shine for me”♬
“I Left My Heart In San Francisco” by George Cory and Douglass Cross
Posted in Northern California Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: Aquatic Park Cove, beach, Fisherman's Wharf, Hyde Street Pier, San Francisco Bay, San Francisco beach, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jody on August 23, 2014
Greg and I recently returned from another fantastic visit to the Bay Area (and points north).
While strolling Stinson Beach one perfect July afternoon, we happened upon a large number jelly-like oval-shaped creatures washed up on the sand. :-( They were the most striking deep blue in color. I recognized them right away, even though I had never seen one of these strange little life forms in person before.
Their distinctive “sail” was the give-away!
Nobody (except the scavenging gulls) seemed to pay them any mind at all. Harmless to humans, these amazing marine organisms are called “by the wind sailors” (Velella velella ). They live on the surface of the ocean and can be found on both the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast of the United States. By the wind sailors are commonly seen scattered about the sands of Stinson Beach during the late spring and early summer, and along the west coast as far north as Washington State, when especially strong winds can cast counteless numbers of these ill-fated critters ashore.
According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s SIMoN website:
Velella velella is incredibly stabile and seaworthy by design. The sail is triangular, slightly thicker at its base, stiffened by superficial thickened ridges, and yet still quite flexible. This incredible design allows smooth bending when its sail is under load, recoiling when the wind lets up, and overall minimizes the risk of kinking. The whole animal tilts when under sail, hull broadside to the flow of oncoming water.
Velella velella drifts before the wind, almost always tacking about 45 degrees to the right of the prevailing northwesterlies. This is normally enough to keep them offshore, however southerly or extremely strong onshore winds can cause them to spin around and follow the wind at a much closer angle that brings them toward land. Once washed ashore, the animals die and disintegrate within a few days.
And here’s a little something extra for your next beach/trivia party! According to Oregon State University: “The sail is set diagonally to the long axis of the animal. On our side of the north Pacific Ocean, their sails are set in a northwest to southeast direction. On the other side of the north Pacific, the sails are set in a northeast to southwest direction. In the southern hemisphere, sails are reversed.”
Apparently, 2014 has been a bang-up year for the beaching of these remarkable, translucent, ocean-going creatures. Stories of mass sightings abound.
Here are a couple more helpful links in case you’d like to learn more about the (often hyphenated) by-the-wind sailor.
Serenity, Sand and (yes) Sharks of Stinson Beach (Stinson Beach)
Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Northern California Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: beach, beachcombing, By the Wind Sailor, jellyfish, Marin County California beach, Stinson Beach California, Velella velella | 12 Comments »
Posted by Jody on August 7, 2014
I can think of no other edifice constructed by man as altruistic as a lighthouse.
They were built only to serve. They weren’t built for any other purpose…
~ George Bernard Shaw
It’s not at all a scary climb in this historic lighthouse!
Here’s a look at the lovely view from the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse to the sandy beaches below.
“A piece of Oregon history sits atop a bluff at the mouth of the Yaquina River. It is the Historic Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, built in 1871 and decommissioned in 1874. It was officially restored as a privately maintained aid to navigation on December 7, 1996. It is believed to be the oldest structure in Newport. It is also the only existing Oregon lighthouse with the living quarters attached, and the only historic wooden Oregon lighthouse still standing.” Source: Friends of Yaquina Lighthouses
Helpful links: American Lighthouse Foundation
Posted by alainaflute on August 5, 2014
After last year’s National Flute Association convention in New Orleans, Mom (Jody) and I traveled east along the Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana through three more states: Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. On our coastal driveabout, we saw beautiful white sand beaches, tumbled shells, great blue herons, and surfers. I expressed shock and glee simultaneously at my first jellyfish sighting (my mom was less than impressed).
We made Orange Beach, Alabama our home base. Our hotel was right on the beach, and we took in the refreshing sea breezes from our balcony. We ate breakfast on the sun deck and kicked off our sandals at the flip flop “parking lot.” The beach was as long as any I’ve ever seen. To be honest, I had no idea how wonderful those gulf beaches could be! The sugar-white sand squeaks under foot and goes on for miles and miles (really, we just set a time limit for our turn-around because the beach just kept on keeping on).
Here’s a look at our golden day on the white sands of Orange Beach:
Click on any photo to enlarge and scroll through.
Posted by E.G.D. on July 22, 2014
Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Robyn Waayers:
Gary and I took a little trip yesterday to explore the beach just north of Imperial Beach and south of Silver Strand State Beach. A lot of organic material had washed ashore, including masses of California Mussels, as well as much kelp.
Some of the mussels had Leaf Barnacles attached.
This is a beach popular with clammers due to its concentration of Pismo Clams. What I presumed to be immature clam shells were here and there on the shore.
Most of the shells on this beach are heavily wave-worn, like this Chestnut Cowrie.
The beach was surprisingly bird-filled, with Willets, Marbled Godwits, and Forster’s Terns being present in numbers (the Forster’s Terns in large numbers as they fished in the huge anchovy schools off shore). We also saw the occasional Royal Tern in full breeding plumage. A lone Long-billed Curlew graced the beach and we saw several more in the Tijuana Estuary area later.
We saw easily over a half dozen Snowy Plovers skulking in the higher, drier portions of the beach as well. Signs discourage people or dogs from walking in their territory, but no fences exist, as we saw in Oregon last month for the protection of this species. The plovers are extremely well camouflaged, and tend to move in short bursts of activity, as opposed to just meandering around as the Willets do.
We also saw a merganser hanging around the edge of the water, and occasionally entering the shallows. A scoter (probably a Surf Scoter) was seen fishing in the shallows, as well.
About the author: Robyn Waayers has lived in San Diego since 1977, and teaches biology at three local community colleges. In her spare time, she is a lover of all things natural history, roaming the region with her camera and an eye for new things. Her website is Shoreline Ramblings, to which she has also posted this article. All photographs are the property of Robyn Waayers.
Posted in Beach Birding, Featured Guest Writer, Pacific Coast Beaches, Seashells, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: beach, beachcombing, California Mussel, Chestnut Cowrie, Imperial Beach, Snowy Plover | 2 Comments »
Posted by E.G.D. on July 17, 2014
It was no easy feat, but I found them: the beaches of Lake Livingston. After failing to find a beach at Lake Conroe a couple days earlier, I was absolutely determined to find something equating a beach at Lake Livingston State Park, which is around two hours north of the northern reaches of Houston, Texas. You see, I was passing through Livingston on my way home from Diboll, TX, where I was performing a Mad Science show for the local library. For those of you who are familiar with that stretch of Texas, Diboll is squarely between Lufkin and Livingston, which are both fairly sizable towns with a lot to offer a visitor. None of the listed locales, however, boast a beach in any of their tourist literature. Soooooo, I paid the $5 entry fee for the state park, hopped out of my car, and went off-trailing (the on-foot equivalent of off-roading) around the edge of Lake Livingston in hopes that a swimming pool and an in-lake swimming area edged by a boardwalk were not all the lake had to offer. Behold! This is what I found:
This one was sort of behind and below the area with the swing-set. Those are the best directions I can give, because I had to get a bit creative to find it. Here’s a shot without ducks:
I hopped around the rocks for a while at this little beach, and then I moved on. The other beach I found was behind and below the campsites for campers (the sites with water and electric hookups):
Whether or not you are looking for a beach there, Lake Livingston is quite lovely, and I recommend it to anyone who happens to be in the area. There were many families cycling around the trails (apparently bikes are welcome pretty much anywhere in the park), enjoying the swimming hole, hiking, fishing, grilling… the usual state park camping sort of things. I get the feeling it’s the local population’s favorite way to beat the heat in the summer. And hey, there are beaches! I know. I found them.
Have a great day (hopefully at the beach) – E.G.D.
Helpful links: Lake Livingston State Park: “At Lake Livingston State Park, you can swim (in the lake or pool), fish, boat, hike, bird, camp, picnic, mountain bike, ride horses, geocache and study nature. We have activities for the whole family!”
Alligator Safety Tips (YIKES!)
E.G.D., you are absolutely right! It does count. The definition of a beach according to Merriam-Webster is “a shore of a body of water covered by sand, gravel, or larger rock fragments.” :-) We beach fans take them where we can get them!
Thanks so much for sharing your find!
Posted by Jody on July 13, 2014
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day,
listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time”
~Sir John Lubbock, The Use of Life