Tag Archives: Aliso Beach Park

Dude Offered Me A Taco

DUDE OFFERED ME A TACO

 

I was surprised this morning how much energy was in the water at Salt Creek today.  It wasn’t huge but it was fairly consistent and punchy.  The bulk of the morning I spend body boarding the shore break with friends.  After a couple of hours and an influx of new eager wave riders, I decided to exit the liquid stage.  My friends decided to whether the crowd increase for about an hour longer and I strolled up the hill cursing under my breath as I often do at that very steep hill.  I was already cramping and tired before the incline delivered a final blow to my desire to exert myself physically.

As I often do, I run into members of the Salt Creek Community.  There are some truly amazing people from a variety of wave riding disciplines that I have enjoyed surfing with and talking to over the years.  Ezra rolled up and parked his car in between the traffic lanes going each direction to check the waves.  We had a 15 minute conversation that included how Salt Creek was more like a community than a public beach because of how many wave riders have surfed this beach for a long time and many people know each other from over the years.  He said, ” I wonder if it is like that at other beaches?”.  I would like to believe so but know that Salt Creek is a special place.

He parked in the lot and proceeded to strike up a conversation with a pretty gal and I waited for my friends to limp up the hill from their surf session.  After chatting with everyone for 20 minutes, hunger kicked in and they all zipped down PCH to Chronic Tacos.  We all agreed to get back to the coast and check Aliso Beach in Laguna due to a rapidly draining tide that favors the shore break.  I headed up to Laguna Hills to get a juice at Mother’s Market and do some shopping.

Jack beat me to Aliso and had already rained on my parade texting me that it was too small.  I was already headed there so I decided to give it a look anyways.  The winds were perfect and the water was a sparkling blue-green.  I was on the phone with Scotty Carter telling him that conditions were perfect minus the surf.  When I told Scotty I thought it was 3 foot a guy cooking at one of Aliso’s barbecue pits said, “Nah, it’s like 6 foot out there right now!”  I laughed and politely told him not today.  He went on to make a comment about how rough it was to which I explained, “that is Aliso Beach.”  He offered me a canned beer that I declined telling him, “Thank you, but no I recently quit.  Nobody likes a quitter”.  He laughed and said, ” You aren’t all that bad”.  I showed my appreciation and continued down to the water’s edge.

There were waves for sure.  It was possible even to ride them with travel time in the barrel but just not enough energy to compel me to paddle out.  There were gentle offshore winds, beautiful water color and glassy conditions.  The winds were feathering back these little wedging peaks back so I snapped a couple of photos on my IPhone.  Knowing I would not paddle out there I walked back up the sand berm and made my way toward the dude that offered me the beer.  I told him to watch for lifeguards and Laguna Beach Police Department whom I have seen write tickets for alcohol on the beach.  He appreciated that and then the dude offered me a taco.  Regrettably I had to decline.  I was so full from a large juice and a couple of organic food bars from Mother’s that I could not eat anything more.  I felt bad for having to decline.  He had the chicken perfectly barbecued and all the fixings for a taco meal and told him everything looked great.

Call me an old sap but that generous offered seemed like the world that has long passed us by.  We are so technologically connected and so inter-personally disconnected that  friendly encounters like that seem so far and few between.  It saddens me.  They were very nice people and I enjoyed talking to them.  It is those types of dealings with strangers that gives the world hope and we all should take note of how small conversations between strangers lead to meaningful dialogue and friendships. In a perfect world, the dude offered me a taco and I was hungry.  In today’s world, this afternoon at Aliso Beach, I had already eaten and wasn’t hungry.  I do appreciate their gesture and hope that people take note of this and look to have conversations like this wherever they go.  They mean so much more than we give them credit for.

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New Years Day

NEW YEARS DAY

New years eve and new years day were extremely quiet for me.  I did head up to the office in Costa Mesa on New Year’s eve to find a new IPAD Pro left for me by the owner of the company.  He and I have been through thick and thin together.  Seeing his company grow like that was the best thing that could have happened to us in 2015 and it sets up what could be an incredible 2016.  I fell asleep around 10 that night as the days of Rose Parade route festivities, New Years hotel parties, Teke parties and drunken madness have all fallen out of sight in the rear view mirror.  I just can’t do it anymore and nor do I want to try.

On New Years Day, I went to the Laguna Foundation For the Arts Gallery to check on a partition wall being built for the Scotty Carter Art showroom.  It is getting close to being done and should be ready for art walk Laguna on January 7th, 2015.  There is lots of cool stuff going on at this new gallery with many exciting announcements to come.  While talking to Tony Cox, the lead partner in the foundation, I was also trying to coordinate an interview with the first Mexican female, professional skim boarder Diana Rosa.  I happened to meet her in the parking lot at Aliso Beach one evening at sunset and I was really taken aback by her energy.  After learning of who she was and talking with her, I realized that she would be someone that I would love to interview for the website.

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What are you eating?

On the first day of 2016, our schedules just couldn’t line up.  I waited at Aliso Beach for a couple of hours before a transportation issue delayed Diana and forced me to reschedule. I arranged to meet with her on the second so there is an interview coming with her that I am sure will be an interesting read.  While I waited for Diana on New Years Day, a couple was sitting at the tables over by the Sand’s Cafe. The dude had a to go box of fries and the natives became restless.  Those natives I speak of were, of course, the local seagull population that has never passed on the opportunity for a free meal.  As the couple began to sense the interest in their food, I told them that it could get ugly. Advising them that seagulls routinely steal food from people at Aliso Beach, the dude asked me if the birds would come down and beat him. I thought to myself, these are seagulls not vultures!  I told him no but that for a couple of fries they might buzz his head and do fly by maneuvers in attempt to separate fries from his grip.  He and his lady friend decided they had seen enough, but I noticed the dude was irritated with me.  The birds were circling and more were arriving by the second.  If you attract one gull the rest of them don’t want to miss out on an opportunity for a snack and promptly join in.

As he walked away, he did something that was super not cool.  As he headed towards the parking lot with his to go box of fries, he through a handful at my feet as I sat at the table. A cloud of seagulls descended over my head and to the ground to enjoy that seagull delicacy known as french fries.  I wasn’t happy!  All I could do was cover my head and hope that the seagull frenzy did not result in an excited seagull leaving a steaming pile on my head.  I dodged a bullet there and came out unscathed.  It’s like yea bro, Happy freaking New Year to you!  Any enjoyment he got from putting me in the seagull swarm was short lived because they fought over a few scraps and then followed he and his girlfriend to the parking lot.  When he realized that he had not gotten far enough from the hungry gulls he surrendered throwing his box of fries to the ground while sprinting for the beach.  I call that karma homey!  Here I tried to give you friendly advice and you threw those fries in my direction so I would be in a mob of flying sea birds.  You are only as good as the last fry you give them and if you have more, remember they are coming for you!  That was a classless thing to do to start the New Year.  Oh well!  As for me it was an interesting New Years Day to start 2016 in what is shaping up to be an amazing year for me.

Thanks for reading the stories on this site.  It is a lot of work and at times hard to come up with cool things to cover.  I am working harder to find thing to publish and ways to keep this website fresh and fun!  It should be a good year, and as I have always stressed, I am interested in collaboration with artists, skim boarders, photographers, surfers, body boarders, Lagunatics and anyone else that loves Aliso Beach to make this website an incredible representation of South Laguna, its beach culture, and water sports.  Email me at info@alisobeach.com if interested.

Photo Credit:  Scotty Carter

 

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Foam Top Board Carnage

FOAM TOP BOARD CARNAGE

With a high surf advisory in effect, there were a lot of eyes on south orange county beaches looking for good waves.  Predictably, Aliso Beach had heavy shore break waves that were good enough for wave riders to tame a few beasts.  The first thing I noticed when I crossed the sidewalk to the sand from the parking lot was a foam top surf board in two pieces leaning against a trash can.  It took less than 5 minutes of watching a 5 pack of two body boarders and 3 foam top board surfers to see a young dude get swallowed up by a good size barrel and crack his foam top board in two.  When the surf gets that big, and knowing how coming out of a barrel at Aliso Beach is rare, it is not difficult to wrap the mind around foam top board carnage. Yesterday’s conditions were a perfect recipe for leaving the beach with a foam top in two pieces. The resulting foam top board carnage should be surprising to no one.

In between the fellas trying not to crack their foam tops in half, local Wedge rider Whale was gliding into some big rights with impressive style.  His effortless drop knee take offs and barrel travel time were incredible to watch.  Having been a friend of Henry Long for decades, I really appreciate the way Whale attacks rights in a drop knee stance.  Every time I looked back out at the lineup while talking to a friend on the sand there Whale was picking off some of the best waves I saw that afternoon.  I would say he concluded his surf session very happy.  The guy was absolutely ripping!

I don’t know what the return policy is on these foam top boards but it has to be a pain in the you know what to be constantly breaking them.  With a high surf advisory expected to last until 6:00 pm this evening, I would be shocked if there weren’t the remains of additional form boards today.  Hopefully, I can get out of work in time to go get a few myself this afternoon.

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Black Friday

BLACK FRIDAY

Black Friday is pure insanity.  People wait in line days before the day after Thanksgiving to get the best deals of the Holiday Season.  In a particular news bit, a dude was interviewed that had camped out in front of this big electronics retailer 8 straight years.  He built a fort with a canopy that was stocked with a computer, television, refrigerator and a bed. Have people lost their  minds? I can see what all the fuss is about, it is so much fun to wait in line for days then to be crawled over and trampled on in the rush to get yours be for everyone else gets theirs.  Yep, so much fun!  The news even featured a woman who was waiting in line at a popular retailer who intended to sell the spot to help pay for medical treatments for a loved one.  These spots have become so valuable to holiday shoppers that I bet she makes a little money.

I am not sure these people understand opportunity cost.  By waiting out there days before, they are sacrificing  time with family for the holiday.  We get so few hours to spend with each other in this country with busy schedules that drive us apart that it is reasonable to believe that people value and want that time together.  These people that would wait out in front of these stores several days ahead sends a different message.  If you are out in front of a retailer for  7 days prior to the event, what happened to work days?  In that case are you not  sacrificing income to save a few bucks on shopping.  It is madness!

aliso creek

Day after Thanksgiving 2015

Pacific Coast Highway was clear sailing with virtually no traffic late this morning.  There may have been 15 people on the beach with the sun peaking through the remnants of a lingering storm that gave us a second helping of badly needed water overnight.  It was still warm enough for  flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt which makes coastal Southern California a really amazing place. I do not give up time at the beach around the holidays to go crawl over everyone to get the best deal.  I never will.  The angst involved in that frenzied rush of people to avoid being on the wrong end of the unforgiving law of supply and demand when it comes to these deals is of no interest to me.  It hardly seems like fun but those who do it, are wide-eyed and ready to go. There is no etiquette between people in this first come, first serve deals event.  If they run out before you get yours, sorry folks better luck next year.

This time of year is a time to decompress, get away from work, enjoy family and relax.  Retailers have always hijacked this time of year where people can chill out for a moment.  While many people run for the malls and giant retailers I am running as fast as I can the opposite direction.  I want no part of it.  You will find me on a beach staring at the ocean and enjoying my toes in the sand.  The name Black Friday has no meaning to me save for the fact that the evening news shows us how far people are willing to go to get a deal.  Although some retailers have drawn a line in the sand by decreasing their hours for Black Friday, many continue to disrespect time off for their employees and subject them to one of the most grueling retail days of the year.  As a former Trader Joe’s employee, I can tell you how a retail season sucks the air out of you.  It is exhausting,  and I feel terrible for those who have to work like that and take time away from family.

I would like to propose something a little different for the day after Thanksgiving.  Let’s call it Blue Friday.  The place that magic happens is down at Aliso Beach for me.  Any beach in Southern California would do, but I happen to find this one extra special.  To me it is hard to imagine anything more appealing than a beach in the amazing weather we have here in Southern California on the day after Thanksgiving.  Let the mind wander over the Pacific Ocean, dip a big toe in the salt water and take a walk up to the tide pools below the Montage Hotel and see if that doesn’t leave you better than you came.  Refreshed, revjuvenated, recharged and reinvigorated is how a leisurely stroll up this beach will leave you feeling.  I have no clue how some of you get this needed relief on Black Friday sales events.  From where I sit and type, you are all adding stress to your lives that is completely unnecessary.

It’s okay though!  Don’t worry about me.  I will be down at the beach healing, releasing mental fatigue, soothing the soul and being thankful for the amazing coastal environment that captivates and de-stresses me.  You all carry on knowing that I hope all of the madness was worth the craziness.  An hour down at the beach this morning was worth my time on this Blue Friday!

Sincerely,

 

Re-charged, revjuvenated, reinvigorated and soothed soul.

 

 

 

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Parents Beware

PARENTS BEWARE

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Collapsing walls lining Aliso Creek.

Parents beware of the dangers of Aliso Creek.  If you bring your children to Aliso Beach Park and see the creek furiously unloading into the ocean, it would be wise to keep little ones away from the sand embankments being carved out by the water. As the water cuts through the sand, the walls on each side of the outflow collapse into the rushing water.  The problem is that if you or a child are standing at edge of these walls as they collapse you are going to land in the rough water as it flows violently through to the ocean.  Check out the pictures below with a little explanation of what to look for.  All human beings have a fascination with water and perhaps kid especially.  When Aliso Creek gets going, there is no stopping it until it has unleashed all of the stored up energy and the power of flowing water.  It is incredibly dangerous and I see no need to allow children to be near it when flowing.

From a second account offered to me, the family was completely unaware of the whereabouts of their child.  Larry Beard threw himself into the water to make sure that a drowning child lived to see another day. Struggling to breathe with head submerging beneath the surface, a family would have been making funeral arrangements had Larry not sprung into action. Aliso Creek is a force of nature that is undeniable and it holds potential to claim lives.

As the water rushes down Aliso Creek towards the ocean it is eating away at the sand walls that line it.  This is where people stand watching the power of the rushing water, and if they are not paying attention, they fall into the creek as the place they are standing cracks and falls in.  It is a very dangerous place to be.

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Roaring Rapids of Aliso Creek

Yesterday by comparison to other days was a mild day.  This scene can be 5 times more dangerous than this picture looks but I would wager a bet that no parent would want their child swept into these rapids.  The chances of survival for little ones are really poor.  This makes what Larry did over the weekend all the more incredible.

No one wants their children to have to fight rapids like this at Aliso Creek.  The creek does what it does.  It has one mission, and that is to flow through to the ocean.  It will take out anything in its way.  Rocks, sand, shoreline and people.

I am disturbed by the lack of awareness when it comes to the dangers posed by the creek and the ocean at Aliso Beach.  Very inexperienced people are injecting themselves, their friends and their family members into situations with potential to result in loss of life.  The child that was saved this weekend was going under, and the description that I have been given of this event as seen by several people in the community is absolutely terrifying. Telling parents beware of Aliso Creek is something I wish we didn’t have to do, but the events that occurred with a little girl nearly drowning with parents who were unaware of their child dangerous close to the rushing water, suggests that we do.

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Hump of water at Aliso Creek.

It has been said that the toddler did not know how to swim and she could not have been in a worse position.  Part of me is angry at the parents for allowing a daughter that can’t swim near that creek.  I don’t think it is a stretch to believe that her parents did not know how to swim either.  That makes it even worse.

Parents beware of Aliso Creek.  Turning your back on a child for one second near the edge of Aliso Creek could indeed result in a tragedy and it was proven once again this past weekend.  Good job Larry Beard once again for seeing that a little girl was safely returned to her parents.  It seems to me this was completely unavoidable and I know you jumped in to save this young life knowing full well you could lose your own in the process.  It was a selfless and heroic act!

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Mutt Mitt

MUTT MITT

Mutt Mitt provides a great service to Aliso Beach.  According to a Laguna Patch Article, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved dogs at Aliso Beach with some restrictions.  Between June 15th and September 10th dogs are not permitted on the beach between 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.  Dogs must be on a leash at all times and must be picked up after.  I remember the day the law changed and it seemed like there was all this pent up demand for bringing dogs to Aliso Beach.  There were families from all over Southern California some with up to 4 dogs with them.  As luck would have it, I stepped into a steaming pile of dog mess in the parking lot.  Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled.

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Mitts to pick up dog poop at Aliso Beach.

The county did put a mutt mitt station at Aliso Beach and it really does help.  The company that produces the product and stations to promote picking up after dogs at the beach is really called Mutt Mitt.  I have covered the change in the dog laws on the website but I never bothered to look at their company online.  According to the website, over 5000 parks use this product and residential pet owners absolutely swear by them.  You should read the product testimonials.  Consistently mutt mitt owners say the quality of the bag allows them to pick up more in one scoop without it leaking so that you get poop on your hands.  While the comments are pure comedy, it appears the product makes something that is not fun easy and a laughing matter!

These are a huge benefit to Aliso Beach and generally people are very good about keeping this beach clean.  The company asserts the idea that beaches and parks with Mutt Mitt Stations see a 95% increase in people picking up after their pets.  I think that it works as a deterrent.  Someone who might otherwise leave a mess behind from their pet probably doesn’t because everyone knows there are mutt mitts readily available to visiting pet owners. This area of Laguna Beach has an environmentally conscious population so the availability of the mitts by the County of Orange and local efforts to promote clean beaches, it is risky to be that pet owner that tries to get over and leave something unsightly behind courtesy of their pet. It’s probably true that the mitts offered make people think twice about leaving a pet mess and no one wants to get called out or shamed.

There is a financial incentive for the beach park to use the mutt mitt station.  Typical dog waste bag stations dispense via rolls and just like towels in rolls, you generally pull out too many towels.  The county runs on a budget so I am sure this was attractive to them. They also believe that pet owners feel welcome at the beach when they see the station and signage.  The stations and signage are weather-proof with custom signage available.  The website indicates they have an easy ordering system and that they are a customer service driven company.  As someone who loves this beach, I am certainly grateful for their role in keeping Aliso Beach free of pet waste.  Aside from one incident I had, you just don’t see people disrespecting the beach.  Mutt Mitts plays a very important role in a clean Aliso Beach and to that I say thank you!

 

 

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Sunset Peace

SUNSET PEACE

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Sunset at Aliso Beach in Laguna, California.

Aliso Beach graciously offers sunset peace to all those that come looking for it. Life is noisy! Politics, traffic, relationship drama, social media, work, kids, school, health, illness, deadlines, bills and too many more to list are things that demand our attention, distract us, occupy our time, consume us, and frustrate us.  Feeling stressed and overwhelmed these things are not foreign to anyone in my opinion.  Because of the pressure life puts on us, it is wise to find places that bring calm, settle us down, quite the noise and refresh us.

I have always said that the experience of Aliso Beach does that for me and I often hear people from Laguna Beach say that the coastal environment there centers them.  The Fall Season says good bye to summer beach crowding, traffic congestion, full parking lots and an extra hour or two of daylight at the end of the day.  Heading to Aliso to take in a sunset is the perfect way to escape the pressures in life that suck the energy out of us.  You should try it.

Cool ocean breezes, palm tree fronds swaying in the wind, the parking lot view extending to Catalina and San Clemente Island, and the glow of the setting sun over the Pacific signaling the end of another day are magnificent.  You will enjoy the lack of crowds and are free to decompress and enjoy a moment of solitude.  This moment is so important in the craziness that has become our lives.  Dare I say we absolutely need those moments? It is a resounding yes that people need to slow themselves down long enough to appreciate the natural beauty of our world and to quite the noise long enough to exhale.  I would call this soothing the soul and you don’t need permission to go do this.  Finding peace requires a conscientious decision to reverse the impact of the stresses of daily life with the rejuvenation of the sunset experience at Aliso Beach.  Sunset peace is very real, and although there are many exquisite and beautiful beaches in the Laguna Beach area, Aliso Beach is accessible when getting to the beach before the sun escapes below the horizon of the Pacific Ocean.

 

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Tsunami Damage

TSUNAMI DAMAGE

With news of a tsunami arriving in the just before sunrise hour, I decided I would head down to Aliso Beach to assess the tsunami damage.  Southern California is geographically blessed in many ways.  We get earthquakes but they haven’t been as bad as they could be.  With hurricanes we experience high surf but don’t get the violent and destructive weather associated with them save for a day and a half well-needed rain event like several days ago.  Thankfully, we rarely experience any tsunami damage when the possibility of one is suggested and warned by NOAA.

Looking for but not expecting to find any tsunami damage, this is what I saw.

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There was a large playground sandbox’s worth of sand in the parking lot with some dried out patches of sea weed but those were all there the week before with high tides and a run of larger than normal waves.  The mouth at Aliso Creek was widened with two large sand walls on each side with disgusting brown urban runoff  and debris full water.  Unfortunately that too is normal with rains that grab fuels, pesticides, trash, pet waste and any other contaminant known to man, and deliver the polluted water to this beautiful Laguna Beach.  The beach once again has eroded on the south end with rocks exposed that took months to disappear under the return of sand last year post hurricane Marie.  Once again, there is a large sand cliff with the water and tides having cut out much of the sand real estate for beach goers and sun bathers. With a nearly 14 day run of south swells beach erosion like this can’t be attributed to tsunami damage.

It was warm on the beach.  There were two skim boarders doing their thing, two hot girls in bikinis, several couples enjoying the view from under an umbrella and a guy trying to grab his girlfriend who was just knocked over by a wave and getting pulled down slope towards the next coming shore-pounder as she screamed. For a warm day at Aliso Beach, there wasn’t many people there so the tsunami damage may have come in a form that people aren’t thinking of. Parking meter revenue was certainly down with the tsunami warning keeping some away from Aliso that would have typically enjoyed a warm summer day at the beach.  While the loss of parking money to the County Of Orange as a result of the tsunami is hardly tragic, it is fair to say that Aliso Beach did suffer tsunami damage.

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Fall Season

FALL SEASON

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Fall Season Aliso Beach

The weather is still warm but mornings become a little cooler as we head for the fall season.  Kids are back in school and the volume of people in Laguna and at Laguna Beaches drops.  Less people are in the water and in the way with the warm water and South Swells we enjoy. It is the time of year that locals gladly take back their beaches.  I don’t say that because we don’t want people to come visit, and we certainly understand the value of tourist dollars entering the city of Laguna Beach.  The problem is that in the summer, locals get overrun by visitors and tourists at Aliso Beach and neighboring beaches to an extent that we are pushed out.

Again, I would like to make the point that we share our local beaches.  Coastal living for us means being at the beach daily.  It is a lifestyle that we enjoy and embrace as a part of who we are.  Aliso Beach centers us and keeps us sane.  Outside of summer, we can get into the parking lot at any time, whereas a typical summer day at Aliso Beach, the lot is full by as early as 10:00 am. For us wave riders, this nuance of Aliso Beach summers means that if we don’t get to the beach early, we aren’t parking.  On days that we work and can’t get there in the morning, and on days that the tide and swell aren’t right until later in the afternoon, we are squeezed out of our beach. To put this more bluntly, we often can’t enjoy the beaches we know and love. The pain of this stings a little because for so many of us, the beach gives us a calm that makes everything okay.

For many of us, the summer crowds at Aliso Beach are too much!  Many of us shy away from the beach if we are not there early. It hurts a little to see that the Aliso Beach parking lots are full.  There is even no space on the hill on South Coast Highway or in the secondary lot across the street.  The snack bar has a line of hungry people. Trash cans are full of trash and the bees are interested in the half eaten food and drinks tossed away.  Doing what they do, the bees can be annoying.  Some folks are kinder to our beach than others when it comes to removing their trash. If we are lucky enough to get some water time, the beach is stacked with people creating a maze of people lying on towels, huddling under beach umbrellas and reserving the fire pits  to get out of and back to our cars in the parking lot. Sea gulls look for unsuspecting beach goers to swipe food from. Lines of people wait to wash the sand off at a single shower.  Restrooms accommodate many people and  become a little nasty. There are too many people in the water making it really difficult to catch any waves where the inexperienced swimmers, and body boarders aren’t in the way and putting us in danger.

During the summer months, we know what we have to give up, and this is absolutely why we look forward to the Fall Season at Aliso Beach.  The hustle and bustle that came with summer eases. There are less cars on the road and in the parking lots.  Children and parents are focused on the return of their children to school. The congestion and noise that comes with everyone wanting to be at the beach all at once  fade.  The Fall Season at Aliso Beach ushers in a restored order.  The beach once again becomes a source of peace and tranquility where one can quiet the mind and take in the natural landscape without feeling like people are piled on top of each other. To be able to stare at the ocean, breathe in the cool air, and dip our toes in the soothing waters without crowds is a gift.  Local wave riders benefit from less people being in the water in the Fall Season and it is as if you can hear them collectively exhale as they realize that their sanctuaries have been returned.  While it is real easy for local people to be put off by the summer crowds, it is an experience that allows us to avoid taking the Fall Season for granted.  Aliso Beach is a special place during the Fall and we cherish this time of year.

 

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Great White Sharks

GREAT WHITE SHARKS

I personally do not know of anyone that has encountered a Great White Shark at Aliso Beach nor have I heard anything about Aliso Beach Great White Sharks.  I am not suggesting that Aliso Beach currently has a problem but the recent attack on professional surfer Mick Fanning on a contest  live feed from South Africa’s Jeffrey’s Bay reminds us that as ocean enthusiasts and wave riders, we play in waters that are home to Great White Sharks. Hitting closer to home, a friend reported on Facebook that he was chased by a juvenile Great White Shark out of the water yesterday in the Seal Beach area. This combined with fairly common reports of Great Whites off of San Onofre Beach in San Clemente, recent lifeguard confirmed sightings from the San Clemente pier area, a pack of Great Whites caught on video by a lifeguard drone in the Surfside Beach area of  Huntington Beach and daily logs of sighting on the website Pacific Shark News which researches and covers movement and predation of Great White Sharks from Southern California to Washington, makes you wonder if we have a problem.  Click on the link in the previous sentence for Pacific Shark News and scroll down to a July 10th entry from Laguna Beach where a body boarder encountered what he believes was a Great White Shark. Having paid attention to Great White Shark activity along the California Coastline for about a decade and reading the logs at Pacific Shark Committee news, the description that Ryan Vaughn offers for the approach of the shark sounds very much like that of a juvenile Great White.

Thousand Steps Beach I would guess is less than 2 miles from Aliso Beach in Laguna.  When I ask the question as to whether or not there are Aliso Beach Great White Sharks, I can with relative certainty say they are there and have always been there.  These waters are home to Great White Sharks and we know it.  The entire Laguna Beach coastline features inter-coastal reefs, headlands and kelp beds that support a diversity of sea life including seals which are a part of the menu for White Sharks. Strangely enough, Laguna Beach encounters are few and far between as I have found from watching Pacific Shark News but I have to believe they are at Aliso Beach and all over Laguna.

Why do I believe this? First and foremost, the ocean is their home.  Years ago seals and Great White Sharks were federally protected. Protection for seals has led to an expansion of the primary food source for adult Great White Sharks. As the food goes, so does the population of White Sharks with significant increases in numbers in recent years.  This by no means insinuates that Great White Sharks are out of danger in our Pacific waters but does speak to their come back with their own protection in addition to the protection of seals. We also know that juvenile White Sharks like to eat sting rays.  Laguna Beach waters have rays.  I have read that Grey Whales head back to the Arctic from Baja with their young while hugging the Southern California coast to fend off attacks from Great White Sharks.  They seem to like the waters off Laguna Beach and I have read that the shallower areas of the coastline are favored by mothers protecting their calves. knowing what I know about Great White Sharks, the shallower waters would decrease opportunities for surprise ambushes on the Grey Whale calves as being escorted to the feeding grounds to the north by their protective mothers.

Scaring people with this is not the point.  This serves as a reminder to people that when we are in the water at Aliso Beach or any California beach along the Pacific Ocean for that matter, we are entering the home of the Great White Shark. There are no reports that I have seen of Aliso Beach Great White Sharks but I am certain they are around. While the horrifying footage of the shark attack on Mick Fanning went viral and became the talk of people thousands of miles from the nearest ocean, we shouldn’t be surprised that this happens every so often and all we can do is hope and pray that when it does, that whomever was attacked walks away just like Mick did.  For an ichthyologist’s perspective on the Mick Fanning Shark attack, click the link!

 

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