Tag Archives: capo beach

Fake News

FAKE NEWS

Fake news is all the rage these days if you are following all the mud slinging going on between the Trump Administration and Main Stream Media as well as both the left and right leaning news organizations hammering each other with accusation.  Put the politics aside for a second! This story has nothing to do with politics but it involves an allegation of fake news that is really funny from someone in the South Orange County surf community that I have a ton of respect and admiration for.

I was meeting some body board friends up at Aliso Beach today.  With inland temperatures in the 90’s, today was predictably a very busy day at the beach.  When I got there, I heard a succession of whistles and my name called.  The parking lot was packed and there was the hustle and bustle of cars on PCH, a parking lot of people fighting over few remaining spots, and the chatter of beach goers entering and leaving the sand with family, children and friends. A second whistle and I figured that it was intended for me.  Looking back towards the direction of the sound, I saw my buddy Jack waving me down.

As we sat there watching the waves and talking, we were joined by several other body boarders from the community. While we were standing there, a man I know from the community walked up and asked me if I was deaf.  I laughed and explained to him that I heard someone call my name but could not see where it was coming from. The dude I am referring to is none other than Mr. Tom Monroe.  I explained to him that my eyes and ears are going just like everything else, and he laughed.  Tom is a really cool guy.  I should probably do a piece on him for the website.

seal, capo beach, scared of sharks, great white sharks, great whites, great white sharks capo beach

Seal At Capo Beach

The dude has a remarkable history as a Waterman, photographer, business man and realtor.  He calls me to check in every so often, and truth be told, I love this guy! He is classic and also known as Mokitom.

So we got on the topic of the shark activity along our coast.  Since I know he is out documenting the surf, skim, body board and beach scene at Aliso Beach and the Dana Point to South Laguna Beach region, I thought I would ask him what he had seen and captured.  He told me that he and his friend Larry were down there at Capo today with a drone shooting footage of the sharks.  Of course none of the video was ready for review, and Larry didn’t have his recently published drone footage on his phone so I accused Tom of teasing the video knowing I would not be able to see it.  His response was a big grin and laughter. In my conversation with him, I asked him if he thought this was normal. His response was somewhat shocking.  He blew it off saying the sharks have always been there and that this hoopla is nothing more than more people with cameras and drones.  I told him that I had been studying the return of Great White Shark populations since 2007 when a surfer’s board was bitten in Huntington Beach.  When I told him that there were now hot spots for Great White Sharks at San Onofre, Sunset Beach, Capo Beach and Long Beach, he looked at me and proclaimed “Fake News”!  I don’t agree with his assessment of fake news, but I acknowledge his right to free speech in America.   He is definitely someone knowledgeable in all things coastal South Orange County and the happenings at local beaches, but I feel I know enough about the proliferation of white sharks over the last decade around our coastline to make a legitimate argument in support of the idea that we have a new normal with Great White Sharks close to shore at South Orange County Beaches.

Before going home, I went to Capo Beach to check things out.  There was definitely more swell in the water, and I noticed the shark advisory signs are still up lining the beach.  I got out of the car and watched the near shore waters, where for two straight weeks, I have observed Great White Sharks within 10 feet of the shoreline thrashing around.  I did not see sharks today as Tom had said were there, but I did see a seal swim north acting mysteriously while positioning itself in waters that were shallow. Could it be that Great White Sharks in the area had pinned this poor mammal along the shore at Capo Beach?  I don’t know but it is certainly in the realm of possibilities.  Assuming that it was getting harassed by hungry Great White Sharks at Capo Beach, I have to wonder how the seal feels about fake news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Aliso Beach, beach news, Capo Beach, fake news Also tagged , , , |

Shark Research

SHARK RESEARCH

shark warning, shark warning sigh, shark sign, capo beach

Capo Beach Shark Warning

After I heard this I decided to do some shark research today. A 50 year water man in Laguna Beach said online today there was a shark sighting at Aliso Beach.  He also said that in all his years that he had never heard of a shark reported in the intertidal zone of Laguna Beach. To be clear, this reported sighting is unconfirmed, but you can appreciate that as the owner of the Aliso Beach website and an avid body boarder that has spent a ton of time at Aliso and neighboring Laguna beaches, I am simultaneously concerned and intrigued by the recent hot spots for sharks at San Onofre, Poche Beach, Capo Beach and Long Beach.

When I got to Aliso Beach this afternoon, I got my parking pass and wasted no time finding the lifeguard supervisor. He was a cool guy, and I am sure that what I asked him is something that has been asked since Orange County News showed a helicopter warning a paddle boarder that he or she was in the middle of a pack of as many as 15 Great White Sharks in the surf zone.  When I informed him that I had a question for him, I told him that I didn’t want to shout out my question.  As I got closer to him, I very discreetly asked him about the alleged shark sighting. He was unaware of  any recent event.  They were training aspiring life guards on the beach so I am 100% sure that OC Life Guards would not expose those kids to unnecessary risks.  So the mystery deepens as it relates to the alleged sighting of sharks at Aliso Beach.  I left the beach assured that there were no issues of Great White Sharks and the absence of media attention, adds to the case that Great White Sharks had not been observed at this popular South Laguna Beach.  I did greatly appreciate the time afforded to me by the supervisor and the willingness to discuss the potential issue.  He was a cool guy and I trust in what he told me. As he indicated, you would have to be a silly white shark to want to take on the shore break conditions of Aliso Beach. With this news I am sure a talented young skimmer with dreadlocks that frequents this local spot is breathing a sigh of relief.  That is just me being funny.  I suspect that very few, if any, wave riding enthusiasts had heard about this shark sighting at Aliso Beach.  Shark research was to continue as I got back onto S. Pacific Coast Highway and headed south.

When I got to Capo Beach, I immediately noticed the traffic stand barriers with the shark warnings attached to then.  It was one of 3 or 4 I saw lining the beach to warn beach visitors of the presence of Great White Sharks. I must admit this is super freaky, and although I have heard of sharks present in local waters, this fact has not hit this close to home until now. Looking south, I noticed a couple of life guards huddled up by the tower and looking out over the water.  I walked up to them and began a conversation about the sharks, and they were definitely there to keep an eye on things and make sure people are informed.  As the shark warnings clearly stated, by entering the water you were swimming or surfing at your own risk.

We discussed theories on why the sharks are there.  It was a cool conversation.  I have always found OC Life Guards to be a class act, and as we talked a shark surfaced and thrashed around a bit. Until that moment, I had never seen a Great White Shark in Southern California waters. I found it surreal.  Capo Beach isn’t the best surfing, body boarding or even swimming beach due to a sloping beach, waves crashing right on the sand, and a fair amount of small rocks lining the shore.  Nonetheless, life guards were keeping everyone informed and watching for the presence of sharks which numbered 15 several days ago.

I talked to them about how I was following the Great White Shark population resurgence with federal protections extended to them and the seal population which represents meals on the preferred menu for these toothy creatures.  Having kept up to date with shark sightings in Southern California, I told them about Ralph Collier and Pacific Shark Committee.  Ralph is a leading scientist and expert on Great White Sharks and predatory behavior in North America. The life guards told me that Chris Lowe, the California State University Long Beach Great White Shark expert and researcher, was working with OC Life Guards on tagging the sharks to gain a better understanding of migratory patterns.  I was a bit surprised to learn that they were doing the tagging via jet skis.  Initially I had asked for a seat in that boat but quickly changed course when I found out that they were doing this on the much smaller and more exposed water vehicles.  That is a little too close and not enough protection for this fat, old guy.

Reality is that local Orange County Waters we hold dear as surfers, swimmers and body boarders, are the homes of Great White Sharks.  To some extent they have always been there.  Perhaps the record rain and runoff combined with cooler waters, spring wind patterns and upwelling are creating perfect conditions for movements in the food chain that have these sharks closer to shore to feed.  While I don’t have all of the answers with my shark research, the numerous sightings from Long Beach to San Onofre have definitely captivated me.  Let’s hope we do not have any more encounters like we saw at San Onofre where a Vista woman was attacked, bitten and air lifted to the hospital clinging to life. I am pleased to say that she made it.  Despite additional surgeries coming and a long road back to as normal a life as she can have given the serious injury to her leg, she is alive and not wishing sharks any ill will.

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach News, Aliso Creek, Aliso Creek Beach, Laguna, South Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach News Also tagged , , , , , |