Monthly Archives: January 2014

Strange Men

 Strange Men

Aliso Beach is one of my favorite places.  There are things you expect to see when you come to Aliso Beach.  Skim boarders, surfers, body boarders, surf photographers, joggers, children playing at the water’s edge, and families with blankets and beach gear trying to fend off sea gulls looking for a free meal.  This is the normal stuff.  Every time you visit this is a part of the beach normal.  It is what you see.

Last weekend, I saw something I can’t explain and I will begin with this question.  Have you ever seen grown men filling up large  Sparklett’s Water Jugs with sea water and using a hand dolly to transport the jugs back to a truck where they poured the sea water into large plastic barrels?  I suspect not but what do I know?  If you are like me, this is something you haven’t ever seen and you were curious as to what the heck was going on.  To be honest, the dudes kind of looked like they were from a reality tv show in the south, and their activity on the beach was nothing short of strange to me.

I figured they were salt water aquarium business owners or a group that sold sea water to local, tropical fish stores.  I do have to mention that if that were the case, it would be funny to me because Aliso Beach has posted water warnings due to contamination more than other places.  Having had a salt water aquarium at one point in my life, I know that they bring in water from the Catalina Island area and would assume due to the presence of less human beings and urban development that the water would be cleaner.  So back and forth these guys went from the beach to the truck in the parking lot.  This went on for hours.  It was interesting to me that neither a lifeguard nor a police officer asked these guys what they were doing.  Aliso Beach is a marine protection zone so I am surprised that these two fine gentleman weren’t questioned for taking water.  They certainly stuck out like a sore thumb.

Two different friends asked them what they were doing and a shocking explanation was given.  One friend said they were working on a project and their answers, as reported, felt a little evasive.  When a second friend inquired as to what they were doing, he was told him that they extract the minerals from sea water and use them to grow wheat grass.  I drink wheat grass juice every morning so this had my attention.  If I knew that Aliso Beach sea water was being used to nurture the wheat grass that I drink daily for health benefits, I would not drink it.  Given their old school and technology-less collection process of sea water, my logical mind wants to call bullshit.  Aliso Beach ocean water would not be my first choice of local sea waters to extract minerals from if in fact wheat grass is fed minerals from ocean water.  Since Aliso Beach is fed by Aliso Creek which runs into the ocean daily while carrying urban runoff and pollutants, I wonder how these two guys are filtering out the toxins found in this water.  Brake dust, fertilizers, pesticides, oils, cleaning solvents, and fecal coliform bacteria are all a part of the toxic mix that runs into the ocean at Aliso Beach via the creek.  How are they removing these harmful agents from the minerals they claim to be extracting from the water and who is doing the work?  These are fair questions for these strange men who managed to fill large barrels of sea water and make off with them only to use them in their so called science experiments. They had me shaking my head, that is for sure.

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Stories Tagged , , , , , |

Laguna Beach Car Break-Ins Targeting Surfers

Laguna Beach Car Break-Ins

Weeks ago I reported that my towel was stolen off the beach at Salt Creek, and that if it weren’t for two observant ladies who carved a large design around my keys sitting in the middle of it, I may have had a serious problem.  Consequently, I bring my keys down to the beach because Orange County Sheriffs on several occasions have warned friends of mine about a group of thieves that are watching surfers hide their keys on their car before running down to the water.   If you think about it, this is a goldmine for would be thieves.  They can quickly come up with the keys and appear to be the owner of the car without causing suspicion.  Some would argue that this isn’t new behavior and in many ways they would be right.  There have been a rash of Go Pro Cameras and loot stolen off the beach at Salt Creek in the last several years so it appears that some opportunists are watching our every move.  I also reported that a friend had dropped his bank card and had someone go to town with it in San Diego. Advice from local authorities suggests that we are indeed being watched and I silently wonder if the bandits are members of our surf community.  They know what surfers do and can spot valuables and keys that are easy targets as a result of understanding how and where surfers stash their keys. According to a friend of mine, a couple of cars had their windows smashed out on residential streets near a popular North Laguna Beach for surfing.  What this could be telling us is that the thieves are growing more brazen and taking chances.  It may also be telling us that they follow the surf and know when surfers are preoccupied with big surf.  So, it seems as though we are being watched, studied and even targeted because the thieves are members of the same community.  They know what to look for and have found surfers an easy target.  Needless to say, it is important to be aware of our surroundings.  We may need to park in spots that have more visibility than others to keep our cars and belongings safe.  It may also pay to try and identify people around us that are either watching us or that look like they are up to no good. With the change in the dog laws that now allow dogs on the beach at Aliso Beach, the parking lot on the Pacific Ocean side of the beach has been much fuller to the point of there being no parking spaces available.  The lot on the inland side of Aliso Beach is great but it does not have the visibility or the presence of lifeguards and police like on the ocean side.  I personally try not to park on that side at all.  In light of the recent issues at Salt Creek and in North Laguna Beach, I will not be parking on that side of Aliso Beach because I feel like the risks are too great. For those coming to the Laguna Beach area, I would travel light.  I would leave unnecessary credit cards, bank cards, cash, check books and electronic devices at home.  Yes, I know you are all digitally connected but I would hate to have my cards, cash and electronic devices stolen and I certainly don’t want to see you have your stuff taken either. Choose what you leave in the car and where you park very carefully at Aliso Beach and beaches in South Orange County.    Laguna Beach Car Break-Ins may just be targeting surfers but it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the recent break-ins in Laguna Beach and take precautions to avoid being targeted.

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Events, Aliso Beach Stories, Laguna Beach, Laguna News, South Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach News Tagged , , , , , |

Fukushima Radiation Hysteria

My Fukushima Radiation Hysteria And Laguna Beach


In my mind, the disaster at Fukushima and the radiation levels put into the global ecosystems have trouble written all over them.  How could that type of pollution and contamination be good for anyone and anywhere?  What this has led to is a tsunami of alarmist stories of doom and gloom and the desire to attract readers with fancifully photoshopped images of marine animals washing up with blame squarely on the shoulders of radiation from Japan.  We live in very confusing times where social media and blogging have given everyone a platform to write stories.  Even in traditional media we are prone to receiving content and stories with misinformation and hidden agendas.  It makes you want to question everything, and question we should.  While the scientific mind can pick apart radiation level reading and reason that in the here and now we are all safe, my unscientific mind tells me there is hell to pay for the Fukushima disaster.  Add stories of the government allegedly stocking up on iodine and you begin to wonder if there is something far more sinister going on.  The government won’t contribute to a panic in America and I believe they probably couldn’t tell us we were all in trouble until it was way too late.  Thinking about the welfare of people, it is almost understandable even if we hate the idea of not being told the truth.  While our government says next to nothing, reputable groups like Natural News are putting stories out there of contamination.  As a nutrition group that exposes the relationship of the FDA and Big Pharma, and how the funding of the pharmaceutical giants heavily influences FDA policy and decision-making, Natural News pushes back and makes people think about whether or not pharmaceutical drugs are the right choice to restore health.  Keep in mind that Natural News is also trying to sell us on supplements that the FDA, as funded by Big Pharma, recently told us pretty much did us no good at all.  It makes you wonder whether or not drugs get through testing without a bias or expected favor by the FDA won through funding.  My feeling is that Natural News may just have our backs more than the FDA and Big Pharma relationship does.  I wouldn’t go as far as saying that all pharmaceutical drugs are bad but I would say that there are natural solutions to human ailments that as a culture we have steered clear of or away from the interest of protecting the profits of drug companies.  I don’t like that and feel like there are forces out there that do not truly care about our well-being and will pound us with every form of media to convince of a solution.  I believe Natural News wants to help people and for that reason, I give credibility to stories Natural News provides that talk about the dangers of radiation from Fukushima.

So, where does that leave you and me, and what is it about the human mind that wants to find evidence or sign of disasters that are being reported?  The reason I ask that is I found myself wanting to find sea stars at Aliso Beach and Crescent Bay wasting away into a goo so that I could haphazardly blame radiation and scream bloody murder at the top of my lungs.  Did I really want to find sea stars in the process of dissolving.  Hell no!  I would be deeply saddened to see these magnificent sea creatures condemned to die by a disease that eats it’s flesh.  It’s horrible.  I searched high and low for sea star waste disease at these two spots and came up empty.  It is true that my unscientific, visual, field study of sea stars in the tide pools of North and South Laguna Beach only included the pisaster ocher type.  I could not find brittle stars or bat stars to determine if waste disease existed in those species. It may or may not be present in those two species of sea stars in Laguna and I couldn’t offer anything relevant or an opinion based on what I had seen. While I struck out on finding the waste disease in sea stars in Laguna that tied us into the effects of Fukushima Radiation, my mind wasn’t done with trying to find something that proved there was some bad news in local waters.

When I first wrote the story that reported the health of observed sea stars in the tide pools of Crescent Bay and Aliso Beach along the northern and southern parts of the Laguna Beach, I did not report an unexplained organic material that I saw that left me with questions.  I figured I would need to seek out an expert before I too get crazy and spew nonsense all over the internet. It is incredible not to join the monkeys throwing poop around the cage as it relates to the reporting of Fukushima Radiation given the volumes of negative stories that are hitting the internet.  Unfortunately, I share the disposition of many who believe we could be in real trouble with this disaster and the real story is being suppressed by governments including but not limited to our own.  Though I have been yanked into some of these back and forths in social media related to Fukushima Radiation, I have seen the need to pull it back and have more logical and fact based discussions leaning on science and departing from fear and emotion.  My suspicions have remained despite my restraint.

In the tide pools, there was this orange substance that appeared to be disfigured.  It was embedded into the reefs, in beds of mussels, under pisaters ocher sea stars and wedge into crevices found in the tide pools.  Where it was safe to do so, I was able to touch these organic substances and too me they had the texture and feel of a sea star.  Was this the evidence that I was hoping for but not really hoping for?  When I wrote the story I did not include any of these pictures because I couldn’t have been sure of what I saw and I couldn’t definitively say they were sea stars.  I felt like they could have been bat sea stars that had wasted away.  I did what I could to describe the animal that I saw online in google search and it did not produce any revelations that left me satisfied.  I stumbled upon the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and used their online contact form to request an email to send pictures.  Those pictures are featured as a gallery in this piece so you can see what I saw.  Mike Schadt from the Aquarium was kind enough to get back with me.  Of course the pictures I took with my IPhone 4S were of substandard quality but he suggested they could be either a colonial tunicate or a red volcano sponge.  The color is closest to the colonial tunicate so for now I am going to go with that.  Mike didn’t seem to concerned about the appearance of these orange areas so I am going to say that I still think that the tide pools at Aliso Beach and Crescent Bay are free of sea star waste disease, or at least as far as I can tell.



Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach News, Aliso Creek, Laguna Beach, Laguna News, Laguna Star Fish, South Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach News, Star Fish Waste Disease Tagged , , , , , |

Breaking Aliso Creek Is Unlawful


It’s crazy but breaking the creek and riding the sandbar waves created as a result of a powerful torrent of water placing sand in all the right places is a time honored tradition at Aliso Beach.  In recent years, wave riders and surf photographers have been in the cross hairs of State Park Rangers, County of Orange Lifeguards and at times the Laguna Beach Police Department.  What I have been told is that it is illegal to break the creek and yet it has been done for decades.  Because of more affordable digital camera equipment and perhaps the influence of the highly successful and award winning photographer Clark Little, there are more people out there that want to be the next big thing.  It seems like there is not a day that goes by without them breaking the river.  The sand bars create some of the most incredible waves and they come with a photogenic quality that is widely accepted as unique and holding potential for magazine quality and commercially viable art work level shots.

So, I wanted to know what the deal was.  A previous attempt a couple of years ago to talk with a lifeguard at Aliso Beach was met with a very hostile response and so I had for the most part, given up on the idea of communicating civilly with this person.  I have noticed that recently lifeguards are more communicative and polite when addressing the river being broken.  In a way, I feel for them.  They know that a large cast of characters has eyes on the river for an opportunity to break it.  They also know that they maintain responsibility for a large beach and they can’t be everywhere at once.  The theme of recent conversations related to the river is keeping everyone safe.  That is a dialogue I can have and yes it is important to everyone that uses Aliso Beach.  A lifeguard showed me a laminated version of ordinances from 2005 that revealed sections with divisions, articles, titles, codes and categories.  It appears it was cut and paste to give lifeguards a snapshot of the regulations so they could be confident in how to handle both those that are breaking the creek and how to maintain safety once Aliso Creek is broken.  Here is the section as written on their loose leaf regarding Aliso Creek.

aliso creek safety regulations, county of orange codified ordinances, breaking aliso creek is unlawful

Aliso Creek Safety Regulations Held By County of Orange Lifeguards


It is illegal and unsafe for the general public to break the Aliso Creek Berm Dam.  During times in which the beach is populated, and it is the opinion of the unit operator on duty that the flowing creek will pose a threat to public safety, those attempting to dig the creek channel should be advised that it is illegal and that they must not continue.  Most of the time, the creek breakers do listen, however, when you leave and come back, often times they are trying to break the creek again.  In the event of non-compliance, contact the County Ranger.  If their eta is extended, contact the Laguna Beach Police Department so that the ordinances listed are enforced.  

If the creek is in danger of breaking, stand by and make sure the area is safe.  Once the Creek gets too strong, do not let people cross the creek.  Also, keep people 5-6 feet away from the the edge of the bank.  Once the creek subsides and it is safe for the public, you may carry on with area operations.  

Keep in mind that this is the header on the laminated sheet that a lifeguard has.  This is not meant to heckle the lifeguards in any way.  I feel it is important that everyone understands why the lifeguards and state rangers do what they do.  Lifeguards are not peace officers so they do not write tickets.  State Park Rangers are another story.  They can and will right tickets if called.  From recent events I have seen, Laguna Beach Police Department does not like to get involved in this.

The next few sections I am going to give you the nuts and bolts of what it says.  These are from the County of Orange Codified Ordinances.  If you would like to see them as most up to date as I could find, please click on the link to the online PDF above.


This section says for the most part that water-related activities are prohibited in designated channels, rivers and canals.  This is bad news for those people that enjoy riding the standing wave created by Aliso Creek waters rushing down towards the ocean as it cuts away at the sands.


This section speaks to the ordinance that is unlawful to move sand or dig which may suggest that digging Aliso Creek is unlawful.  The language isn’t exact when comparing it to the laminated sheet the lifeguards are carrying around.  That sheet says that it is unlawful to break Aliso Creek and talks about what to do if those breaking the Creek do not comply and who they can call.  As written this 3-8-25 does not read like that on the lifeguard sheet.  I have no idea why.

Based on what I have read, it appears that breaking the Creek is against the law.  It appears to be built on the idea of maintaining safety for those using the beach.  It won’t stop these guys from breaking Aliso Creek and I have seen digging activity there for months on a daily basis.  No matter what side of this you are on, lifeguard, wave rider, state park ranger, surf photographer and general public, nobody wants to see anyone hurt or lose their life.  The lifeguards are charged with keeping the beach safe and they take pride in the job they do making sure beach all visitors are kept safe.  Wave riders and surf photographers have broken Aliso Creek for decades and to be honest it is fun.  State Park Rangers probably have better things to do but are also doing their job to keep everyone safe and enforce county ordinances.  AlisoBeach.Com has no interest in taking sides on this.  We see this from the point of view of everyone and when push comes to shove, when lifeguards ask those breaking the creek to stop and then call in the State Rangers to enforce and write tickets, these folks are doing their jobs.  Certain groups do not like that, but it is the truth.  Check out the written ordinances above.  We have included them so that if you wanted to become educated on the how and why lifeguards ask people not to break the creek and what the laws read, you would have the ability to do so.

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Creek, Aliso River Tagged , , , |

The Pacific Ocean Swallows The Sun During Aliso Beach Sunset

Sunset, Aliso Beach Sunset, Aliso Beach, Aliso River

Glorious Sunset Aliso Beach


No matter how hard I try, I don’t think I can muster the words to describe Aliso Beach.  This Laguna Beach gem is found between two sections of coastal hills that opens up to the Pacific Ocean.  You can literally drive into a parking lot on the coastal side that makes you feel like you are driving into some sort of liquid wonderland.  A beautiful blue ocean sucks you in and the level of the beach compared to the ocean makes you feel like you are a part of the sea, but again, words fail to deliver on how glorious and special this place is.  It is clearly more a feeling that it is a description and perhaps I would be doing you more good by encouraging you to come down and see it for yourself.

The other day as the sun went down, it looked like an interesting sunset but nothing so remarkably different than we had experiences all fall and winter here in Southern California while the rest of the country is trying to keep warm in exaggeratedly frigid conditions mimicking temperatures and characteristics of weather in the arctic.  I have heard some describe this as being under the influence of the polar vortex.  Whatever it is, Southern California and poster children like Aliso Beach along the Laguna Coastline are pissing everyone off with 70 degree temps. As much as we are one country, I feel like winters are uninhabitable by Southern California Standards.  The sun began setting out west and it just seemed to get swallowed by the ocean.  I am not sure why the sunsets at Aliso Beach look so different to me.  Looking at the picture to the left, you can see what I mean.  The sun is dipping and while headed towards falling below the western horizon towards darkness it takes on an interesting shape, glowing and reflecting of the wet sand of the sloping beach.  Call me sentimental, but I really thought this sunset was phenomenal.  The quality of the picture isn’t anything special but I milked my IPhone 4 for all I could to show you something I thought was interesting.

During the sunset that evening, there were droves of people getting out of cars and snapping pictures.  Perhaps they saw the same thing I did.  Pure magic.  The interesting thing is that as many people as there were on the beach and in the parking lot overlooking the ocean is there was absolute silence among the people watching the sun go down.  Not a word from anyone as the full effect of being mesmerized was in play.  It’s in these moments that people realize they are small and this planet is bigger than they are.  I think in Ferris Bueller’s Day off Ferris says something like if you don’t stop to take a look around you, you will miss what is going on around you.  The message is that there are cool things all around us and if we get so caught up we will lose sight of the magic around us.  The amount of people that felt compelled to pull over and drink up this sunset is evidence of the recognition of a small moment in time that holds a significance that they could not resist.  It is an acknowledgement of our beautiful planet and how fortunate we are to call it home, especially when you find yourself at Aliso Beach!

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Mutt Mitts

mutt mitts, aliso beach mutt mitts, aliso beach, aliso beach dog law changes

Mitts to pick up dog poop at Aliso Beach.Apparently Aliso Beach has adopted rules for beaches in South Laguna Beach which now allow dogs on the beach while on a leash.  I don’t know if I am all that excited about that.  Sure, it’s great for local people that need to walk their dogs and love the beach as well.  Sure it’s great for beach visitors that come from miles away and would prefer to bring their best friends with them to the beach rather than deal with consequences of leaving them at home unattended while they play.  I get it.  I have watched dogs in Huntington Beach at the designated “Dog Beach” squat on the beach and leave poops a few feet from the ocean that I swim in.  From time to time, I see reluctant dog owners looking around to see if anyone sees that they intend to walk away from the treat their dog left on the beach without bothering to pick it up.  Here is the thing that really infuriates me.  Aliso Beach already has water quality issues due to urban runoff, pollution, occasional sewage discharges and sea gulls who foul up the Aliso Creek waters that pool behind the sand berm.  Even without the addition of dog mess, there is testing being done on a regular basis for unsafe levels of fecal coliform.  How the hell is adding messy doggies to the beach going to help with this?  As I understand it, lifeguards get a call as a result of  a polluting event upstream or elevated levels of contaminants revealed in tests by the Orange County Health Department, and they are asked to post signs warning of the risk of swimming in the waters.  Dogs will add to this problem in my humble opinion and it’s not cool.


There really isn’t anything I can do about it.  Snorkelers, swimmers, divers, body surfers, tray surfers, body boarders, surfers and water photographers will all continue to play in these waters, pollution or not.  The issues in the water at Aliso Beach are well documented and I just don’t see adding dog feces to the water issues there.  Knowing I am powerless to change the adoption of dogs on a leash at Aliso, I will advocate for the next best thing.  While it isn’t a perfect solution, Aliso Beach has a Mutt Mitts dispenser offering plastic gloves to pick up your dog’s shit and a place to dispose of it.  So, there really aren’t any good excuses for your pet soiling the beach or the parking lot.  Since they are giving you a mitt, I hope that you don’t half ass the pick up job.  In fact, make sure to get your mitts dirty and remove as much of that poop as you can.  The reality is that if a wave washes over your dog’s poop,  there is a good chance it is being dragged back out into the surf that tourists, beach visitors, my friends and I are enjoying.  We don’t want to get sick!

So just as a crude reminder….the Aliso Beach Mutt Mitts are great to pick up your dog’s shit so that everyone may enjoy the beach.  Of course there are wonderful people walking their dogs that are mindful of doing the right thing.  It just takes a few people daily walking their dogs and leaving the poop to soil the sand and water increasing the risk of bacterial infection to those that enjoy the water.  No joke.  With this new law change at Aliso Beach, I hope they have a massive ticket and fine for those people that think they can walk away from their dog’s shit!  There is no better way to say this than to be crude to make this point.  My apologies!  Please use the Mutt Mitts.  It makes for a cleaner Aliso Beach and ocean water quality.

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach News, Laguna Beach Tagged , , , , |

The Aliso Creek Process

Aliso Beach, Aliso Creek, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso River

Aliso Creek running into the waters of South Laguna Beach.

Aliso Ceek essentially begins in the Santa Ana Mountains and is fed by as many as 7 larger tributaries that become a part of the journey of urban runoff and water to the ocean. When the creek gets to Aliso Canyon, it is running through an area created by the movement of glaciers and over marine sedimentary rocks and sand that are left over from a time period when California was under salt water.  Pretty amazing when you stop to think about it.  The creek exists the way it does largely because of runaway glaciers.  Today, Aliso Beach is not only not found beneath salt water and there are no glaciers dangerously breaking lose. The median temperature in this part of the Laguna Beach Coastline enjoys a large percentage of sunny days yearly and a median temperature that hovers slightly above 70 degrees.  Temperatures cold enough to house glaciers is not a part of our current program, thank God!

Before Aliso Creek gets to the ocean, it encounters a formidable foe in a large berm of sand built up by high tides.  It traps the water at the end of the creek where it pools and widens at the mouth.  When the pool gets too full, the runoff from the creek will breach the sand berm and run into the ocean.  As is often the case at Aliso Beach, there is a cast of characters that break the river to satisfy their own personal vanities.  Let me explain!  You have the Aliso Beach wave riders (Aliso Beach Body Boarders, Aliso Beach Surfers, Aliso Beach Body Surfers, Aliso Beach Tray Surfers) that enjoy the fruits of a good size creek being let out into the ocean with carefully placed sand bars firing up perfect barreling waves once the turbulence of the runoff has subsided.   Some of the more daring personalities in the group will risk illness to due to exposure to creek waters while riding the standing wave that is created with water rushing from the creek out to sea.  Then there are the surf photographers who break Aliso Creek every day who need to keep the social media content machine fat and happy with a saturation of pictures that start to all look the same.

However the creek is broken and whomever breaks it, it begins with a narrow trench that leads to the ocean.  This gets the river flowing.  As the process starts you can hardly imagine roaring rapids.  It takes about an hour to an hour and a half to complete the process of emptying out into the ocean.  Those looking forward to riding or photographing the waves created by the outflow of the creek and movement of sand assist the river in going from a trickle to a pretty mean flow of water into the ocean at Aliso Beach. As it gets going, the rushing water cuts through the sand and releases 500 cubic feet of water when it is flowing at its strongest point.  The outflow cuts into the sand banks on each side of it, collapsing portions of the banks as it flows through over and over.  The erosion that takes place, depending on the size of the backed up pool and the distance it requires to get to the ocean can leave 6-8 foot sand walls on each side of an emptied out Aliso Creek.

Aliso Beach Bodyboarding, Aliso Beach Bodyboarder, Bodyboarding New Years Day, Bodyboarding

Aliso Beach Wave after the Aliso Creek Process has finished.  The waves are almost perfect!  

As a spectator it can be quite dangerous.  The spectacle of a river charging into the ocean in Laguna Beach is quite the draw.  It attracts tourists, families, kids and beach visitors who do not understand the dangers.  Lining the walls of the river as it flows, people are forced to back up as the river chewing through the soft beach sands produces cracks in the flat portion of sand above the banks that signal a collapse of the sand wall along the crack.  Numerous times in the last few weeks I saw kids almost get taken into the river with collapsing sand.  Between the little brat that was trying to help the river by knocking walls of sand down with her feet and the dad who had a hold of his little boy as he did the same, I would say that ignorant people simply do not understand the dangers.  What pisses me off is that it won’t be them that dives into the water to save them.  It will most certainly be one of the wave riding and surf photography crew that frequents Aliso Beach and is knowledgeable about the dangers.  If the parents through themselves in we would probably have an even bigger problem with the need to rescue them too!  Standing above the river the other day, not only did it crack but the sand beneath me shifted so violently that it felt like a tremor beneath my feet.  It even made a noise.

When the creek has given all that it can to the ocean, the hope is that it created a sand bar that is happy to deliver perfect waves.  It doesn’t always work but it pretty consistently makes magic, but not until the water goes through the Aliso Creek Process.

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Waves, Aliso Creek, Aliso River, South Laguna Beach Tagged , , , |

Message For Parents

Aliso Creek, Aliso River, Aliso Beach

Dangerous Aliso River


This is my message for parents at Aliso Beach.  I am reserving the right to do your parenting for you.  You clearly do not understand the dangers of a full creek unloading into the ocean at Aliso Beach and your children apparently do whatever they want regardless of your attempts to get them to move away from the river banks.  It’s dangerous, and since you cannot parent your own kids, I will have to speak up so that tragedy is averted.

These people have no freaking common sense today.  Parents are ignorant and their children run their show and tell them how it is going to go down.  I would have received a beating had I pulled what these kids pull today.  It’s crazy.  Over the weekend I was at Aliso Beach watching a full Aliso Creek being let out on the north end of the beach.  It was after New Years and there was plenty of sun, attracting people from all over with families, children and tourists enjoying the warmth of a winter beach day in South Laguna Beach.  I don’t know if the county let it out or if it was dug by one of the army of wave riders and/or surf photographers that let the creek out to create a sand bar. The idea is that the torrent of water cuts through the high tide berm pushing sand out in front of the river to form sand bars that perfectly sculpt waves.  It works perfectly and the waves are near flawless.

While watching this process, tourists and beach visitors were piling up on each side of the creek to watch it flow into the ocean.  As it eats into the berm the river uses gravity and begins to flow downward with a force that is scary.  If you can picture it, try and see a creek that is dammed up by a sand berm and sloping beach.  The digging out process involves carving a narrow path for the water down to the incoming waves.  Once it gets going, the inertia of the water strips away sand creating a wider flow and a deeper channel.  As the sand on the bottom of the path is eaten away, the water flowing to the ocean gains speed because it is now flowing downward.  Before you know it there are 6 foot walls of sand on each side of Aliso Creek with water rushing violently towards the ocean.  Friends of mine trying to ride this over the years have been held down by the rapids long enough to have their attention.  The penalty for a wipe out in the river without luck on your side is being held down long enough to drown.  These are people with experience in the ocean for decades and swimming abilities that are far greater than the average person.  If the experts are at risk of becoming injured or worse yet drowning, then parents with their young children standing over the river as it releases into the ocean should be extra careful.

I watched a young girl stand over this river and kick the walls of the sand along the river into the rushing waters.  This is a behavior she saw other people do that was aimed at creating a powerful river flowing into the ocean.  The problem with that is that as the water rushes towards the ocean it is eating away at the lower portion of the sand walls on each side as the water heads down river.  What you will see is cracking on the flat portion of sand above the river signaling a collapse into the river of the sand and anything or anyone standing on it.  This little girl had to be 7 0r 8 years old.  Boy did she have a mouth on her.  A dad was hopelessly trying to get her to move away from the edges of the sand cliff as the sand collapsed close enough to her to topple her into the vicious current below.  As he tried to corral this little thing, she avoided him and gave him the business.  Honestly, she could have just told her dad fuck you.  That is what she was saying anyways.  It would not have been the dad jumping in and trying to save her.  It would have been any number of us from the wave riding community jumping in and trying to save her and the current is so rough and the hold-downs so thorough that there are no guarantees once you are in that.

This isn’t the only time I have seen this in the last couple of weeks.  The power and danger found in those rapids is undeniable so I fail to see why parents let their little ones stand so close to it as it bears down on the journey to the ocean.  It defies logic and any sort of good parenting strategy.  Your kid is trying to fall into the river and you do nothing to stop it.  If I see this again, I am personally grabbing your kid, pulling them away before they fall into the river, and telling them why they can’t be that close to the river as it lets out.  Honestly, it is entirely possible that doing that will avoid you planning their funerals.  So, dear parents at Aliso Beach, I am watching your kids trying to help them avoid a potentially deadly situation, and I will not apologize for embarrassing you in front of your child if that is what it takes to make sure they are safe!


Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Creek, Aliso River, Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach Tagged , , , , , |

Sea Star Waste Disease Aliso Beach



I made it a point to check out a spot in Northern Laguna Beach at Crescent Bay where I knew there was a large population of Sea Stars.  By the way, after reading about the waste disease occurring in star fish populations of the Pacific Ocean from British Columbia to Mexico, I discovered it is politically incorrect to refer to these creatures as star fish because they are more closely related to sea urchins than they are to fish.  So, now you know.  Who knows you may find yourself with a a science question on the game show Jeopardy and your answer will be what is a Sea Star!

While I am extremely familiar with the tide pools in North Laguna, I am not at all familiar with those of Laguna Beach.  You have those on the north below the Montage referred to as Treasure Island and you have the tide pool on the south that separates West Street Beach (Table Rock) and Aliso Beach.  It is interesting because the tide pool rocks on the south end have a moss that grows on it and it is slippery.  Make sure if you are going to climb through that tide pool that you have shoes with good footing and traction.  This is the kind of slippery that could have you surprised and really get laid out.

Besides the moss growing on the rocks that are slippery when wet, you notice that the mussel beds are on the rocks that jut further out into the ocean.  I had to walk further out on the partially exposed reef to see any star fish and oops I did it again!  The scientific community will have to excuse me for the omission of the proper term for these wonderful creatures.  Setting the record straight and so none of our smart friends in the marine biology field get their chonies in a bunch, I am referring to sea stars.  I did not see any sea stars until I got really close to the end of the reef.  They were at the edges and experiencing a resurgence of the tide so it was really difficult to get a bunch of pictures.  I will assume that if the tide were lower like we had the previous couple of days that I would have seen more because I simply would have been able to travel out further on the reef.  I was able to snap some pictures though, and as I found out in Northern Laguna Beach at Crescent Bay, the only thing that was a waste was glassy ocean conditions due to no waves.  In fact, the sea stars look to be healthy, but as I said before, I am no scientist.  What is clear is that there was no goo, mush, halves of star fish separating and walking away from each other or missing limbs.  Did I say star fish again?  Sorry but the scientific community will have to grin and bare it as I learn to call these sea faring stars by the proper name.

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach News, Laguna Star Fish, South Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach News, Star Fish Waste Disease Tagged , , , , |

Follow Up On Sea Star Waste Disease

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In late December, I decided to climb up onto the tide pool area at Crescent Bay to determine if there were any visible signs of sea star waste disease. Truthfully, I expected to find evidence of it within this population of sea stars along the Laguna Beach Coastline in this particular rocky, inter-tidal zone.  I had been through their before and there are tons of sea stars.  The first time I got up into the tide pool area, some of the sea stars were in spots that I could not get to due to a low tide that wasn’t quite low enough.  I took pictures that day with my IPhone 4S and found no evidence of anything terrible going on. I figured that was no way you could miss a sea star losing limbs, turning to goo or fragmenting with two sides of the body separating and crawling away from each other  That is pretty dramatic and I expected that I would find something. With the exception of one individual with one mark on it, I saw nothing sinister.  Nothing rivaled what I had seen online of the sea star wasting disease despite the fact that this issue has been said to affect the Laguna Beach area.  If this is the case, it did not appear that Crescent Bay had seen the effects.

All week we have had big high tides with wide swings to negative low tides over a foot.  I read that some of the one’s in the parts of the tide pools that got super dry could appear to be sick and that the best evidence of the disease would be found in the low lying areas of the tide pools that spent much less time exposed to drained out tides.  These are the areas that are predominantly under water. Knowing the tides would cooperate with a much more comprehensive view of the tide pools at this North Laguna Beach, I decided to give it a second go around.  If it was there, I would find it.  Trust me when I tell you I would be okay if it wasn’t there at all.  Nobody likes to see star fish die-off as has been reported in the news so many times recently.

I found no missing limbs.  I saw no goo.  I saw no sea stars that appeared headed for a separation that had two sides going the opposite directions.  I looked.  I got to as many low lying areas of the tide pool and reef as the tide would allow me.  There are pictures to document my research today.  One of the things you will see is that the sea stars that are under sea water in the tidal pools or that are recently exposed appear to have more color.  As the star fish dry out, they tend to look less healthy, but again I saw no missing limbs and goo.  If the disease is in this community of sea stars, I have not seen it.  As I indicated, it appears that some sea stars are in better shape than others but let’s face it, not all sea stars can be sexy!  I am not a scientist, but I did not see anything that resembled lesions that are said to start the process of wasting away.

I am attaching a gallery of my pictures of sea stars from today January 3rd 2014.  It is important that you see pictures of the affects of the disease so that you know what I am comparing my pictures to.  Again I am not a scientist, but the health of the star fish in this area of Laguna Beach appears to be healthy.  It is important to note that I observed only the Pisater Ochre Sea Star and perhaps orange bat sea stars.  There are other west coast sea stars that are having issues up and down the coast but did not see them in this particular inter-tidal zone.

Example 1 San Franciso Gate January 3, 2014

Example 2 High Country News November 14, 2013

Example 3 ABC News November 5, 2013

Look at these for reference.  There is no missing the damage found in these pictures and I am not seeing it in North Laguna Beach, California.





Posted in Laguna Beach, Laguna News, Laguna Star Fish, Star Fish Waste Disease Tagged , , , , , |