Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches

One Shell of a Find!

  • Like us on Facebook!

  • Come Join Us! Treasure Hunters

  • Copyright Notice

    The contents of this site are copyright Beach Treasures And Treasure and may not be copied or used without written permission from the Beach Treasures And Treasure Beaches staff. The posts may be quoted in part, so long as credit is given where it is due and so long as you link the quote back to this page. Thank you kindly for your cooperation and for your interest in our passion for beaches.
    ©2011-2020 Beach Treasures And Treasure
    All Rights Reserved.

  • Disclaimer

    Links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience to users; Beach Treasures And Treasure does not control or endorse their content.

Posts Tagged ‘Marin County California beach’

By the Wind Sailor

Posted by Jody on August 23, 2014

Greg and I recently returned from another fantastic visit to the Bay Area (and points north).

Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach

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.

By the Wind Sailors on Stinson Beach

By the Wind Sailors on Stinson Beach

By the Wind Sailors on Stinson Beach

By the Wind Sailors on Stinson Beach

Their distinctive “sail” was the give-away!

By the Wind Sailor

By the Wind Sailor

By the Wind Sailor

By the Wind Sailor

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.

Look closely for the By the Wind Sailors.

Look closely for the By the Wind Sailors.

Harmless to humans: blue stinging tentacles around the rim.

Harmless to humans: blue stinging tentacles around the rim.

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: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Seas the Day!

Posted by Jody on March 15, 2013

Seas the Day!

Seas the Day!

Go for it now.  The future is promised to no one. 

~Wayne Dyer


Posted in Northern California Beaches, Surfing Beach | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Happy Hiking to Abbotts Lagoon Beach!

Posted by Jody on March 13, 2013

Abbotts Lagoon, Point Reyes National Seashore

Abbotts Lagoon, Point Reyes National Seashore

Abbotts Lagoon Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Northern California

The lovely 1 ½ mile walk through coastal vegetation (across a bridge over a small river dividing the two-stage lagoon and traversing soft, shifting sandy hills) might seem a bit more like a hearty (yet low-key) footslog than a “moderate walk.” The unequaled Abbotts Lagoon “trail”  brings hikers through soft, deep sands that seem to slow one down to the bare minimum speed. In this piece of Point Reyes paradise, wayfarers can expect a scenic and unhurried journey!

Trailhead Marker

Trailhead Marker

Greg and I weren’t in any rush on the day we visited! The leisurely pace made it all the easier for us to really take in the spectacular scenery along the diverse trail. Wildflowers abound at Abbots Lagoon, and bird watching is simply unavoidable!  We didn’t actually see very many birds on our January visit, but these lagoons reportedly attract many species of migrating shorebirds in the fall, followed by ducks during the winter months.

If you’re really lucky, you may even spy a peregrine falcon looking for a tasty meal! The sand dunes backing the beach are also home to the threatened western snowy plover. It’s important for visitors to keep an eye out and tread carefully on the sandy beach during their nesting season (spring and early summer).

The Beach at Abbotts Lagoon

The Beach at Abbotts Lagoon

Eventually the path opened up before us to an awe-inspiring panorama of the Pacific Ocean. This varied trail brings happy hikers right to the shores of the Great Beach. The far-reaching Great Beach is actually made up of many sections of sandy shoreline, and the beach at Abbots Lagoon is just one small, beautiful portion of the uninterrupted 11 mile expanse of bluffs, dunes, and natural shoreline.

Greg and I were blown away by the beautiful “sands” we found near Abbotts Lagoon. Sifting through the rich greens, bold reds, and bright yellows of the tiny beach pebbles was an amusing highlight of a lovely walk to a beautiful beach on a warm and sunny winter’s day!

The beach at Abbotts Lagoon

The beach at Abbotts Lagoon

Up, down, out and across; there’s something to see in every direction on the trail to the beach at Abbotts Lagoon!

Happy hiking!


Helpful link: National Park Service/Point Reyes National Seashore

Posted in Beach Birding, Northern California Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Celebrating Presidents’ Day – USA

Posted by Jody on February 18, 2013

Pacific Ocean

“And when we go back to the sea…”

“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch –

 we are going back from whence we came.”

~Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy at Harvard University on Thursday, June 14, 1956.
– 35th President of the United States

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Big

Posted by Jody on October 15, 2012

The Great Beach of Point Reyes National Seashore. View from the headlands.

When I think “Big,” I think of The Great Beach at Point Reyes National Seashore.  It’s a biggie, alright! This grand strand goes on for as far as the eye can see, with 11 miles of undeveloped Pacific Ocean shoreline to explore.  The amazing, larger than life sandy coastline is located in Marin County, about 30 miles north of San Francisco, California. Also known as Point Reyes Beach, The Great Beach includes sections called South Beach (closest to the headlands) and North Beach. Beautiful!

“We need to keep some of our vanishing shoreline an unspoiled place, where all men, a few at a time, can discover what really belongs there ~can find their own Island in Time.”
~Harold Gilliam, “Island in time; The Point Reyes Peninsula

Posted in Monday Miscellaneous, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Serenity, Sand and (yes) Sharks of Stinson Beach, Northern California

Posted by Jody on September 25, 2012

Stinson Beach, Northern California

I’ve seen Stinson Beach, California on many a “Best Shelling Beaches” list. Truth be told, though, I’ve never found a take-home seashell or sand dollar on this beautiful stretch of Northern California coastline.  No kidding!

Peaceful Stinson Beach on a gorgeous winter’s day.

Greg and I don’t go to Stinson Beach for its renowned (rumored?) beachcombing. We love heading to this beautiful beach for the quiet serenity of a long winter’s walk on a seemingly endless shoreline. I’m not sure if we’ve ever even been to Stinson Beach during the summer months, and that’s OK. Although there are lifeguard towers evident on the beach, with an average summer water temperature of 58°F, year-round rip current warnings and a shark attack history, we never plan to do much more than get some sand between our toes!

Left side of Stinson Beach safety sign

Right side of Stinson Beach safety sign

Even though this very thorough warning sign is posted prominently at the entrance to the beach, the Golden Gate National Recreation Site page states: “Swimming is only recommended from late May to mid-September when lifeguards are on duty.” All righty then…

The following Q & A comes from a wonderful White Shark Information webpage supported by the California Department of Fish and Game. In it you can find answers to many questions about white sharks (aka: great white sharks, or if you’re a surfer: the men in the grey suits).  The site covers everything from what white sharks typically eat to how to tell white sharks from other species of sharks and their role in the marine ecosystem. It’s definitely worth a look!

Q: How can people avoid white shark attacks?

There is only one foolproof method for avoiding a white shark attack: stay out of the ocean. If this is not an option, try to avoid places known for white sharks, such as the Farallon Islands, Ao Nuevo, and Bird Rock near Point Reyes. Another suggestion is to avoid swimming in areas where marine mammals are congregating. Don’t swim in or near areas frequented by sea lions, harbor seals, and elephant seals, etc. or near their rookeries.

Wearing a wetsuit and fins, or lying on a surfboard, creates the silhouette of a seal from below. Shark attacks are often believed to be cases of mistaken identity, with surfing or swimming humans mistaken for seals or sea lions. Times of reduced sunlight, such as foggy mornings or dusk, are ideal times to be mistaken for a seal.

View of Stinson Beach, California from the Pacific Coast Highway

Stinson Beach is located about 20 twisty miles north of San Francisco. Open every day of the year, Stinson Beach has rest rooms and shower facilities, picnic areas, and BBQ grills. Whale-watching is big here January through March. A snack bar is open during summer months and kayak and boogie board rentals are also available then. Keep in mind that Fido is not allowed on the beach area maintained by the National Park Service, but is welcome (on leash) in the parking lot area, picnic grounds and on the county section of the beach known as Upton’s Beach.

“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.” ~Bruce (Great White Shark),  Finding Nemo

Posted in Beach Safety Tips, Northern California Beaches, Sharks, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Signs that make you go “Hmmm…”

Posted by Jody on July 2, 2012

Greg and I came across this sign near the Kehoe Beach trailhead at Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California.

It made us go “Hmmm… How ’bout we just stick to the sand today!”

And so we did.

Posted in Monday Miscellaneous, Northern California Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Ice Plants: Not so Cool

Posted by Jody on June 13, 2012

I always thought that the striking, colorful ice plants that grow so profusely along the dunes and on the rocky bluffs of California’s Pacific coastline were native to the Golden State. Was I ever wrong!  I do still think they are absolutely striking, but now I know that they are definitely not native. In fact, ice plants (Carpobrotus edulis) were intentionally brought to California from South Africa in the early 1900s to stabilize the coastal sands and help control erosion.

Well, you know what they say about the “best laid plans.”  They often go awry.

The Invasive Ice Plant, North Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Ice plants are  mat-forming perennials.  They have very thick, triangularly shaped, smooth and fleshy leaves with pretty yellow or pink flowers. Once intended to maintain the stability the coastal dunes, these rapidly spreading, non-native succulents are now recognized as an invasive species. Growing year round, a single ice plant shoot segment can grow up to three feet in one year, threatening the delicate ecosystem and unique environment of California’s coastal dunes.

Ice Plants on the Dunes of North Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, California

The colorful blankets of ice plants squeeze out indigenous plants, and native dune vegetation has to compete for nutrients, space, water and sunlight. In some areas ice plants have completely taken over, preventing  the native flora from thriving and slowing the natural process of dune migration.

As the late, great Johnny Carson used to say, “I did not know that.”

Beautiful North Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, California

So now, at Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California, Coastal Dune Habitat Restoration Projects are taking place to remove both the non-native invasive European beachgrass and the ice plant from coastal dune habitats to “restore natural dune processes and function.”  Would you like to know more? There is a very thorough article on the National Park Service website entitled “Coastal Dune Habitat Restoration Project: Why is Dune Restoration Important?” It is long, but it covers everything you might want to know on the topic, and so much more. It’s very interesting reading!

By golly, ya really do learn something new everyday!

Suggestions? Tips? Comments?  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment space below!

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Flora, Northern California Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

2fer Tuesday: McClures Beach & The Other Side of McClures Beach, Northern California

Posted by Jody on April 3, 2012

McClures Beach, tucked away in Point Reyes National Seashore, is Mother Nature’s perfect sandy crescent to ponder the power of the pounding surf.  Surrounded by high, steep cliffs, this small, 1/2 mile long beach is the place to take a break from civilization.  McClures Beach’s rocky, driftwood strewn shoreline sets the scene for an amazing experience.  Rough boulders scattered about this beautiful, rugged cove serve as front row seats. You’ll just want to choose a perch, scramble up, and settle in. The thundering waves are the stars of the show here!

A sneak peek! The best is yet to come!

Greg and I headed for the McClures Beach parking lot just off of Pierce Point Road, at the far north of Point Reyes National Seashore. A hint of what was in store for us could be seen from the trailhead, and we couldn’t wait to hurry down the sandy path! The distant view of the Pacific Ocean was enough to set a brisk pace for the short .6 mile trek to the beach. The best was yet to come…

Views of the Pacific come and go along the .6 mile trail.

I recommend a good, sturdy pair of shoes for this coastal trek.  First, the sometimes steep, often uneven footpath requires a firm foothold. Second, you’ll want them for climbing up to your wave watching vantage point. Third, well, that’s still a secret!

Babbling creek and beautiful wildflowers along the McClures Beach trail.

The grand entrance to McClures Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore.

Looking North

Looking South

Watching the Waves

How cool is that?

Okay, now I’ll tell you. Reason #3 for sturdy shoes: Once you have traveled this far on south on the sand you may be able to sneak through a “secret” passage carved through the rock to an enchanting,  secluded cove on the other side of McClures Beach.

Through the Rock, McClures Beach

If you want to explore beyond the main beach, it’s really important to know the tide schedule for the Seashore (available at the visitor centers daily).  The National Park Service warns:  “It is tempting to venture around the southern corner to explore the adjacent beach, but use caution! This area can only be safely accessed during the outgoing low tide.” If the tide is heading out,  you can pass through the cliff and experience an absolutely magical moment when you discover a very small, almost mystical beach.

The Other Side of McClures Beach

The dreamlike quality of this little hidden cove nearly took our breath away. We felt like we were the first explorers to ever set eyes on this fairytale coast.

I have no doubt that you’re going to feel the same way!

Wishing you many magical days at the beach!

Posted in Northern California Beaches, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Awe Inspiring Kehoe Beach, Northern California

Posted by Jody on February 29, 2012

Kehoe Beach, located within the Point Reyes National Seashore, is one of the most gorgeous stretches of coastline Greg and I have ever visited. A little more than a 1/2 mile walk from Pierce Point Road, you’ll find a startlingly beautiful strand where golden sand meets the sea. Majestic, peaceful, awe inspiring…

Today, the pictures tell the story.

Awe Inspiring Kehoe Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore

Looking South, Kehoe Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore

Looking North, Kehoe Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore

Kehoe Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Kehoe Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, California

A Sea Star’s Friendly “Hello” ~ Low Tide at Kehoe Beach

Goose-Necked Barnacles and California Mussels, Kehoe Beach

“So Long”

Gorgeous Kehoe Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore

Kehoe Beach is absolutely gorgeous. What more can I say?

Have a beautiful day at the beach!

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Northern California Beaches, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: