Tag Archives: South Laguna Beach

Great Big Plants


Great Big Plants, tomato plant

Before Great Big Plants feedings for 5 weeks

I have been promising a Great Big Plants Story for months now, and I thought that people from the Aliso Beach and South Laguna communities would enjoy the article.  I am glad, however, that I waited to write this story because the success of the product since the time period that I was supposed to write the article in has shown 15 times better results.  Let me start by going back in time and talking about how a connection has turned into the promotion of an amazing product with real results in my own backyard.

My fraternity brother’s family owns Left Coast Brewco in San Clemente, California.  He had been nudging me for at least a year to come check out the tasting room.  Not sure why I didn’t take the bait of finely crafted beers until nearly 2 years of existence as a business, but I finally got there.  In addition to the quality of their micro brews, I was struck by the type of people that were in the tasting room regularly and felt like it could be really good for business.  The clientele at Left Coast is really cool. One of the people I met early in my time at Left Coast was this funny, young, twenty something who had a penchant for thrift store work shirts.  Everyone of them came with a different name sewn on the shirt and a different company name.  I found that hysterical and lo and behold Spenser was someone I talked to a lot while at Left Coast and a friend.

One day we ended up in a conversation about his family business Great Big Plants.  I told him that 2014 was very productive for tomatoes in the backyard and that 2015 had been for the most part a disappointment.  He suggested that I try his organic Great Big Plants solution which puts beneficial nutrients and microbes back in the soil that are beneficial to growth and productivity. He was even willing to bring me a complimentary sample.  It seemed like a lost cause but I was down to test it out.  The plants looked like they had completely given up and the life had been sucked out of them.

Two of the three tomato plants after feeding them the solution for a couple of weeks roared back with a deepening healthy, green color and new foliage.  There wasn’t a single tomato initially, and the flowers that started to spring to life seemed to be die and fall to the ground.  That was discouraging, and the bees that were so prevalent in the spring were nowhere to be found.  When this feeding process first started it was late summer early fall.  It was not a forgone conclusion that this would work but in addition to the color, the vibrant smell of the plant became more pronounced and a tomato magically appeared.  I began to notice that the local humming birds that chase each other around the yard for priority on the feeder hanging from the back patio, were now interested in and feeding on the nectar from the tomato plant flowers.  For awhile, the lone tomato grew larger and then one day, it seemed like there were 5 or 6 more.


The plants aren’t out of the woods though as winter temperatures and predicted El Nino rains threaten the viability of keeping the tomato plants.  There are now 15 tomatoes on the plant which to me is absolutely remarkable.  They are all green and not quite at the ripening stage.  I am hoping that they continue to develop into a salad friendly fruit, or vegetable depending on who you talk to, but the branches are starting to split under the weight of the tomatoes.  This may force the decision to pick the larger tomatoes to see if placement next to a ripening banana starts a chain reaction that leaves them all red.  Understand that I had no expectation for results like this.  I was convinced that there was something to this solution when I saw the new, green growth and a single tomato formed. The odds were long so getting to 15 tomatoes in my mind is nothing short of amazing. We are approaching 3-5 days of rain, and I will be interested to see how well the plants hold up.  Plan B is to remover the big ones to see if they can be influenced to ripen by bananas.

Why is this important to Aliso Beach or South Laguna?  One of my initial thoughts was that the greens over on the 9 hole course at The Ranch At Laguna Beach were treated with pesticides and fertilizers that get into Aliso Creek.  As you may know, phosphorus in fertilizers contribute to algae blooms that upon their death leave a toxin called domoic acid that poisons shellfish beds, lobsters, crabs, fish and larger sea creatures that feed on them.  Couldn’t the Ranch at Laguna Beach make a change that keeps the greens healthy and pristine without the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers?  Wouldn’t such a move keep in line with the purpose of maintaining the Marine Reserve at Aliso Beach which is downstream from the golf course? Keep in mind this is just me thinking about the potential uses for Great Big Plants.  The company is already responsible for flipping a country club in South Orange County into their product and doing away with harmful fertilizers and pesticides. It makes me think that it is possible at a place like the golf course at the Ranch at Laguna Beach.

To be crystal clear though, I have no idea what the Ranch at Laguna Beach uses to maintain that golf course.  I think most would agree that golf as a sport generates so much interest and revenue that keeping the greens attractive and top notch are important to the success of the course.  I would bet that most would agree there is a good chance that like many other golf courses, the one here uses pesticides and fertilizers that we would be smart to keep out of urban runoff, out of Aliso Creek and out of South Laguna coastal waters.  Again, I have no idea what they are using at the Ranch.  I do think it would be cool if a business like Great Big Plants got in there and helped them make a change to organic solutions that went along way to protect local ocean waters and honor the Marine Reserve that environmental activists in Laguna worked so hard to create.

The product works.  I can and do enthusiastically speak on behalf of the Great Big Plants solution.  I thought that in order to talk about the product the way I should that I would need to perfectly understand the science of it.  With the plants coming back to life off season and producing tomatoes, all the evidence needed is the tomatoes growing on a couple of plants that were basically dead when the solution was first applied.  After a 30 day period not feeding the tomato plants, some of the foliage died and they did not look as healthy.  The tomatoes kept growing despite the leaves turning brown and the Great Big Plants feedings are back under way.  We will see what happens, but either way, there is more than enough to convince me that this product does what it says it will do.  I will leave the science of that up to Spenser.  My enthusiasm for and belief in the product was enough to connect Spenser with a large player in the landscape and organic gardening business in South Orange County.  The rest is up to Spenser!  It feels good to get this article out there and honor my friend whose family has a product I believe everyone can benefit from.  Linking the organic gardening and landscape business to Great Big Plants feels like a very natural fit with the opportunity to partner on business that makes a real difference in South Laguna and neighboring communities.  The potential for this company to redirect businesses and residences to organic and sustainable gardening is a massive opportunity.  In today’s climate, I feel like people are ready to circle back to growing their own vegetables organically and contributing to the environment by discontinuing the toxic pesticides and fertilizers that deliver foods laden with poisons and soils that produce runoff that gets into our salt and fresh water.  Using Great Big Plants is a win for everyone!

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

Happy Birthday Ron Pringle


Happy Birthday Ron Pringle.  Laguna native Ron Pringle is someone I have had the chance to get to know a little bit over the years.  51 years young today, I imagine he is out looking for a few waves to celebrate another day of life. If you read what he writes on social media and you truly hear what he says, you know he sees life as a gift. A talented musician, body surfer, all around waterman and smart dude, I have always enjoyed talking with him.  He has always said hello and stopped to talk with me when we cross paths and I have always really appreciated that. I would say that Ron understands people and that he genuinely takes interest in others.  He is the kind of guy that anyone would be glad to call their friend and he makes others feel like they matter.

Happy Birthday Ron Pringle.  Hope your special day brings you together with family, good friends and plenty of waves.  See you soon!

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Ron Pringle doing what he loves!


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Happy Thanksgiving


I wanted to take a moment and wish friends, family, fraternity brothers, partners, clients, men and women serving our country and everyone out there a Happy Thanksgiving.  Two years ago, I almost lost my life in a near drowning event at Salt Creek on Thanksgiving Day.  Nature dropped a serious lesson on me about my own mortality.  Tomorrow is never a guarantee, and something as unpredictable as a set of large waves beating me senseless is a reminder that there are some things I can’t perfectly control.

I left that near death situation a little wiser with an extra helping of motivation.  I really do want to impact the world and make my time here count. There are a lot of really disturbing things going on out there in the world around us, and although there is little I can do to change those things, I do feel like I can make small but meaningful differences in the lives of people that are close to me or in my sphere of influence.  They could be family members, friends or complete strangers asking for help.  Reminding people that they are cared for goes a very long way even if the kind gesture is small. Never underestimate the  power of kindness and giving to lift people up when they need it most.  I have to remind myself at times to step outside of my own crazy world to remember this and it is an internal dialogue that I will keep active so that I never forget that people need help.

The Aliso Beach website is a labor of love and I am incredibly humbled by the appreciation and encouragement the website has received from people.  The South Laguna region of beaches including Aliso is very special to me.  People in and out of the community have found the information on the site useful and have reached out with questions.  I am proud to say that every question and/or request for information have been promptly returned, and as a result of the visibility online, I have be given some opportunities to really help some people.  I have also been blessed with the opportunity to recognized people in the beach community that have helped others.  It has been an absolute joy to extend the Aliso Beach community through the website.

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Glowing ocean surface in fleeting moments of sun.

As the days in 2015 dwindle towards the New Year, the need to do what I said I would do when I started the website again is gnawing at me a bit.  What I said was that I would add art to the website and sell with a split of profits between the artist and a recognized 5013c non-profit charitable organization benefiting Aliso Beach.  By January 1st, 2016, the e-commerce section of this website will have contributing artists and products that may be purchased online that benefit artists and a charity whose work benefits this beach. I view this as an amazing opportunity to support charity and artists. If you are an artist or photographer with work influenced by or featuring Aliso Beach, let’s talk. My collaborative vision for this website requires involvement from members of the community who want to help make a difference.  When the vision comes together perfectly, I will consider ways to make sure there is a transfer of ownership of this website to someone, some organization or some collaborative group of people who will carry this torch on forever.  As we have all seen, the work to preserve our beaches and valuable marine life is one with no finish line.  Aliso Beach has plenty of issues with runoff from the creek damaging water quality and putting the health of beach goers, recreational water enthusiasts and marine life at risk.  In addition to being a great source of information on Aliso Beach, it is a goal to help charities fighting for good water quality and marine preservation with funding generated through the sale of art. The site is getting closer to realizing this desire to help and artists and charities benefiting Aliso Beach.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do this work and offer others the opportunity to help.  Together we can make a huge difference in beach community of the ocean playground we love.  The website is always looking for pictures, stories, writers, artists and anyone else with an idea for how to collaborate in a meaningful way that enhances the impact we have on both creative people getting their message out about their art and charities that fight for Aliso Beach.  It’s fun and a great way to give back!

Please be encouraged to bring your ideas for the website to the team here at Aliso Beach. The goal is to involve as many people that want to make a difference in the lives of artists while benefiting a marine water conservation minded charity. Come join us!  We can do great things together with this website.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo Credit:  Scotty Carter

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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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Aliso Beach Surf Report


There are many more terms for Aliso Beach in South Laguna than I could have ever imagined.  Aliso, Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Laguna, Aliso Beach South Laguna, Aliso Creek, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Creek Beach, Aliso Creek Beach South Laguna and others are used to identify the same place.  My preference is Aliso Beach but these are the ways surf reports and beach goers talk about this amazing South Laguna Beach.  This one beach with many names has experienced a drought for waves and after this week per Solspot, we could go into an extended funk and lack of waves if something doesn’t rescue us in the tropical Northern Hemisphere spots that express deliver waves with hurricanes.

It seems as though there hasn’t been enough swell to awaken Aliso Beach in over a month.  Unlike Salt Creek, Aliso is not as receptive to smaller swells and waves driven by localized winds over the outer waters.  Realistically, Aliso Beach needs to be a solid 4 foot plus or greater to really do much of anything at all and it takes much lower tides to deliver any sort of wave quality.  Often times when Aliso Creek is let out by local youth, less than desirable conditions get a boost from newly formed sand bars.  The problem is that while we have had lots of smaller swells, Aliso Beach hasn’t been particularly responsive to the energy.

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Below Sea Level Photo Credit: Scotty Carter

This week we have influx of swells out of the south, southwest with wind swell mixing in.  It doesn’t seem to be enough to awake Aliso Beach from its summer slumber but who knows.  I will be giving it a look.  To make matters worse, the coast is under drizzling and misting weather that is putting a little unwanted texture on the water and waves with winds out of the southwest.  This will coincide with predicted wave heights 3-4 occasional 5 foot waves throughout the week with a boost Wednesday and Friday with an effect that is to be determined.  After the weekend it appears the Southern Hemisphere and tropics will care even less and go back to napping so whatever Aliso Beach gets this week may be it for a couple of weeks short of some small, dribbling waves out of the south as storms continue to buckle under the might of high pressure and blocked by the swell muffling tendencies of South Pacific Islands.

What we do know is that summer is far from over and that Aliso Beach will have its days.  Until nature assists though, Aliso Beach will have surf that is small and uninspiring.  It seems rather strange with the early hurricanes last week of May and into June and an El Nino condition confirmed by most scientists and meteorological talking heads as forming in 2015.  Of course, no one can perfectly predict the effects of this warm water event and counter to the expected warm water along our coast, local ocean temperatures have not reached bath water just yet.  We will get waves and Aliso Beach will benefit from those swells.  How long it will take is anyone’s guess but my expectation is that before long, El Nino will have its say in the quality and strength of swells hitting Aliso Beach through the end of summer and into fall.  For now, here is your surf report and forecast from Solspot for Aliso Creek Beach South Laguna!


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Aliso Beach Sunsets

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There is something truly amazing about the way the sun sets out over the Pacific Ocean from the vantage point of Aliso Beach in Laguna, California.  I could admit that my love for Aliso Beach and the Laguna area of our coastline feeds a bias that has me telling you this is one of the truly magnificent places in the world to take in sunsets but I won’t because I believe that  this beach is just one of those magical places.  Aliso Canyon opens up at Aliso Beach with a fresh water creek twisting through the canyon, hills, cities and mountains with tributaries that feed it as far east as the Cleveland National Forest.  It is by no mistake that the canyon opens up to this beautiful beach.  This sandy beach rests between two sections of coastal hills punctuated by rocky out croppings and inter coastal reefs.  As you look out over the ocean from the vantage point of Aliso Beach, you feel as though  you are on the water.  I am at a loss for words when it comes to describing Aliso Beach Sunsets and can tell you they never disappoint. The experience of the sunsets there are more a feeling than they are words in text or flapping of the gums to describe.  Sometimes it is better just to remain quiet but I will do my best to minimize verbal vomit and not take any of the shine off Aliso Beach Sunsets.

The Pacific Ocean seems to swallow the sun.  The light is eclipsed by the western facing slope of Catalina Island and the Pacific Ocean in a display of glowing, orange goodness that words will not do justice.  I can tell you that the sunsets at Aliso Beach draw you in as if somehow you are being pulled into its energy as it lights up the western Pacific and sky in an explosion of color that is best described as spectacular.  I am no scientist so I can’t tell you why the vantage point of Aliso Beach is so good for sunsets but can tell you that it is.  I am including two weeks worth of Aliso Beach Sunsets and an older one from the archives of Scotty Carter in pictures that I believe you will enjoy.  I am trying to document Aliso Beach as much as I can and bring what I see through my IPhone 4s back to you to enjoy.  Being able to drive passed this beach every day gives me the opportunity to really soak up this incredible beach and sunsets are clearly worth their weight in gold at Aliso.  Sunsets and the ocean at this South Laguna Beach work harmoniously to leave we humans speechless and in their presence, without words is exactly what we should be!  What an amazing gift they are!

I would also like to thank Kirk Keiser for his contributions to the Aliso Beach website with pictures from the before and after of the Hurricane Marie coverage I have been giving to the state of beach since the devastating waves.  The 12th image in this slideshow is a perfect display of the extraordinary sunset experience at Aliso Beach.  Enjoy!






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Aliso Beach Today Lost A Little More Pier


Aliso Beach today lost a little more pier than it had when it was first taken down. I was talking with wave rider and photographer Stan Moniz over Facebook and he told me that there was heavy equipment down there to remove the recently exposed pier pilings.  Wave damage from Hurricane Marie had done quite a number on the beach exposing an incomplete job of removing the pier.  According to Brennan Clarke, a notable big wave surfer that frequents Aliso Beach when the waves are heavy, told me that there was a Bob Cat and some sort of small crane there to do the job.  Stan thought that they may have also brought sand to replenish the beach but a lifeguard this afternoon indicated that the sand was starting to come back to the beach.

I know a little bit about the pier story.  I know that there was a Coastal Commission Approval to repair El Nino Storm damage to the pier in the late 90’s. I also know that the main portion of the pier was removed initially followed by the removal of the platform that housed the beach restrooms several years after.  I know that after the pier was removed initially, and with the platform containing the restrooms still there, I kicked something on the bottom in the area of the old pier while riding waves that a friend and fellow wave rider told me was part of the old pier.  Were they mad?  Why did they leave pieces of the pier that could have been dangerous to swimmers and wave riders? Did they not expect big waves to uncover the unfinished job?  A lifeguard told me today that body surfers have been cut up by the remains of this old pier.  I am inclined to believe that this young guard was not old enough to have seen body surfers get cut up by pieces of the old pier but perhaps this happened more recently than I thought.  Having viewed the jagged edges of the pier pilings, one with a significant piece of metal wire hanging from it, it is hard to wrap my mind around why they would not have seen the demolition through to its completion.  The lifeguard informed me that the pier pilings were cut down more by the construction equipment seen on the sand today at Aliso Beach.  So here we are again with another attempt to conceal what should have been taken care of years ago with the pilings cut down a little more and yet not fully removed.  If you are like me, you are scratching your head.  I am hoping to understand the logic behind this recent move to cut down the pilings as well as to open a discussion related to the failure to handle complete removal of the pier the first time around.

Aliso Beach today lost a little more pier.  To the dismay of all people that love Aliso Beach, the job was not completed today.  We are left to wonder when the next storm will beat the shores of Aliso Beach into submission and expose a job that should have been finished a long, long time ago!

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Fog Swallows Aliso Beach

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Aliso Beach under the spell of the fogmizer.


We have had a tremendous run of good weather this fall and winter.  Apparently, no one has told those in charge of the season here in Southern California, that we do get a little rain.  It seems like it has been 70 plus and sunny for well over a month from start of the day to end of the day.  Aliso and the Laguna Beach area is blessed with some of the best weather in the world.  Protected from onshore winds by a coastal mountains, hills and sea cliffs, Laguna beach has some of the most amazing beach days in the winter that the Southern California coastline sees.  For those that call Southern California Beach areas home, they are no stranger to June Gloom and fog.  With the run of warm weather and flawless beach conditions at Aliso Beach, many of us had forgotten that when the weather is warm, chances are fog is not far behind.

Yesterday I rolled up to Aliso Beach and the sun had beaten back the low clouds and fog.  As the morning progressed the fog rolled in from the North and put a cool damper on the beach scene.  It got to a point where you could not see.  I ran some errands for awhile and then came back in the afternoon in the hopes that the dropping tide would make the waves work at Aliso Beach.  You could barely see anything in a cool, misty fog.  The waves weren’t that great and the warning signs for high bacteria levels found in the ocean were all over the beach.  With an open cut, I decided to bail on Aliso and head south.  The fog lifted and offered a brief period of sun and glassy ocean conditions, but the scenery and warmth were once again swallowed by the fog.

I found myself once again drawn to Aliso Beach this morning.  The sun was out and the high tide was marching up the sand berm.  It is pretty much par for the course at Aliso Beach.  It was nice out and relatively warm.  There was a family setting up in the playground area for a family gathering and/or birthday party.  Little did they know the fog was about to take back over.  I don’t know about you but the beach really isn’t all that appealing when it is cold and foggy.  As they set up for their event, the fog migrated south and took over the beach once again.  In shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops, I wasn’t interested in the blanketing and cooling effect ushered in by a similar fog bank to the day prior.  In a run of really good weather, it seems unfair to have the weather swallow up a nice family event and birthday at the beach, but that is what happens when fog swallows Aliso Beach.

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Sea Star Waste Disease in Laguna Beach?


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Laguna Beach Sea Star With Possible Waste Disease Lesion.  Just right of the center, there is discoloration or a white area that looks similar to documented waste disease lesions in star fish.  Is it waste disease, I cannot say.

Is Sea Star Waste Disease In Laguna Beach?  According to experts, it is.  There have been reports that not only is there evidence of the disease along the Pacific Coastline from British Columbia to Mexico, but also independently on the East Coast.  Some were quick to throw out a causal link between Fukushima Radiation and these events, and while I appreciate the conspiracy theory mind and mistrust of reports, star fish waste disease is not a new occurrence in Southern California.  Previous events of star fish waste disease came after warm water events along the Southern California Coastline in El Nino Years.  2013 had an odd occurrence of warm water in May of this year that may have been a catalyst in this new event of the disease.  In the surf community, we would call the ability to wear trunks in local waters in May a warm water event.

Recently I asked a friend of mine to go down and take pictures of the star fish in the tide pools for me.  I am sure that the business of being a teenager got in the way of the promise to do that.  Our recent flat spell gave me an opportunity to go down to the tide pools and see if I could find evidence of this waste disease.  Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach has a large inter-tidal reef and tide pool area that alternates between a state of being underwater at higher tides and exposed and drying during lower tides.  It has a large bed of mussels which is a favorite food source of our star fish friend here in Southern California.  As with all animals it seems, when the prey is in large supply, predators thrive.  I have always marveled at how many star fish were visible at low tide at Crescent Bay.  They literally pile on top of each other to get at those shelled, musseley morsels that line the tide pool areas.

The reports about the sea star waste disease are pretty vivid and disheartening.  There is talk of populations being wiped out.  Descriptions include sea stars turning into goo and two halves of a star fish separating with each half going in different directions.  What?  I was thinking that based on these reports I would see some dramatic evidence of the disease as Laguna Beach is a part of the large stretch of coastline said to be affected by this disease.  I was eager to check this out because exploring the tide pools in Laguna Beach and appreciating marine life like the star fish dates back to my childhood.  I would be genuinely upset if I found sea stars suffering under this debilitating disease and would be equally disappointed that these types of events are in many ways tied to our disrespect of the environment.

What I know from reading about this disease is that it has been linked to bacteria in California that seem to attack the star fish after a warm water event.  As I have learned, it begins with lesions that begin a degradation process that takes as little time as two days to cause serious deformity, wasting away and death. Some have been willing to let the mind wander and are loosely throwing out there that Fukushima Radiation is to blame.  The evidence seems to suggest otherwise but you never know.  A recent event on the East Coast with sea star waste disease was said to have been caused by a virus and not bacteria.  Attempts to link events together with two different causes should give us pause and encourage us to isolate events and discover the real truth independently of each other.  By the way, why is it that in the information age it is so hard to find the truth?  There is always an agenda and information dissemination seems to follow dollars and hidden agendas.

So, here is what I can tell you based on what I saw.  First of all, I wasn’t able to get to lower lying portions of the tide pool that spend more time under water. The low tide was at over 2 feet so the best observation area was under water when I took pictures.  In reading about sea star waste disease, I have learned that the best place to look is the most suitable habitat.  Those areas that dry out between tide swings are less ideal for star fish because of the risk of drying out. One of the assertions made in an article I read about the disease was that star fish could get similar lesions ( to one’s seen in waste disease) from drying out due to exposure.  With that said, I feel like the best outdoor science lab in the tide pool to observe for the presence of the disease was not available today.  While I didn’t see anything so alarming with the star fish observed that I would confirm the disease’s presence at Crescent Bay, I did see a few things that I would like to go back and take a closer look at.  I will just need a lower tide.

Lesions and deformities are what would be visible among the population of star fish as evidence of the disease.  I figured there would be a greater occurrence of the deformities than goo because the star fish is not living at this point and certainly not able to hang on to the rocks with incoming waves.  For the most part, I didn’t see anything that was obvious or screamed of the presence of waste disease.  I will say that the way the star fish dig into the mussel beds, it is really hard to tell if there are deformities on the arms of the stars because some of their limbs are not visible as they disappear into the beds.  I did see a few that I wanted to take a closer look at.  The tide level wouldn’t allow me to safely get down to them without falling in the water with my phone in hand.  I did review one picture I took and found that it had a mark that could be a lesion that is said to be the start of the waste away process.


First and foremost I love the ocean and am aware that we humans have put undue pressure on this valuable resource.  From Fukushima Radiation to urban runoff, we have not been kind to our oceans.  As an advocate for preserving the ocean and a place I love in Laguna Beach, I have given a lot of thought to why we need to protect our oceans.  The numbers on this can’t be any more telling.  Salt water makes up 98.5% of the 70% of the earth’s surface that is water.  I don’t think that when you completely toxify 70% of the earth’s surface, which just so happens to deliver fresh water and food sources to people globally, that the future looks good.  Secondly, I love Laguna Beach. My childhood memories go way back in Laguna Beach with family vacations and what we saw in the tide pools there was always a highlight of the trip.  It is a fascinating coastal environment rich in marine life, picturesque landscapes, soft-sanded coves, exotic waters, majestic sea cliffs, and inter-tidal reefs that make it special.  Unlike much of the Southern California Coastline with long, flat sandy beaches interrupted by piers and jetties, the Laguna Beach Coastline is alive.  It is truly a special, special part of our coastline and we should do everything we can to preserve it.

I know that people out there are thinking about our environment.  They hear and read stories about coral reef bleaching and collapses, urban runoff, de-oxygenated coastal zones, mysterious fish and marine mammal die-offs and are worried.   While it isn’t a good idea to link these issues without science to things like Fukushima Radiation, it is healthy for every day people to be engaged in the plight of the marine environment.  We need people to get involved and to become educated on what we are doing to the oceans that we need to fix.  Awareness is not a bad thing, and while Laguna Beach is a place I like to shine the light on in terms of the need for us to protect, it is important to note that are mistreatment of the ocean and resulting pollution issues are found in varying degrees in every coastal environment that people live in.  Those areas are no less important and must be protected to.

Sea Star waste disease is a problem among many.  It has the attention of many because people are worried about Fukushima Radiation, people generally love star fish, and because people are beginning to see human survival tied to protecting our planet, a planet that is made up of close to 70% salt water!

Posted in Aliso Beach, Laguna Beach, Laguna Star Fish, Star Fish Waste Disease Also tagged , , , , , |

Bucket List Beach


Do people out there in the world have a bucket list beach?  Hawaii, Mexico, France, Tahiti, Spain, Portugual, South Africa, Australia, Fiji, Costa Rica, Bali and other countries with extraordinary beaches come to mind when I think about places I have seen and places I believe I would have to see.  All of Laguna Beach is definitely in there but Aliso Beach is one of my favorite South OC Beaches that I think everyone should want to see if for just one day or moment in their lives.  This beach is so inviting that it swallows you up and quiets the noise in life in a way that I cannot fully describe or explain. If you have a week to 10 days of vacation time, Laguna Beach is a must see.  While I am biased towards Aliso Beach and think it should be a bucket list beach, there are small coves and beaches in Laguna from the north to south that almost make you feel like you got back on a plane and landed in another coastal paradise.  It’s crazy.  Each beach has its own character, feel and charm.  For the entire 7 days you could kick back and enjoy Laguna from a separate cove or beach and still leave plenty to see on a return visit.

aliso beach, sunset, aliso beach sunset

Aliso Beach Sunset

When you have the opportunity to see Aliso Beach all of the time, I think you can take it for granted.  Speaking for the wave riding community, I think we all look at Aliso Beach with an expectation for warm weather (even in the winter), beautiful blue-green water, picturesque sunsets, stunning landscape and incredible ocean waves.  Not everyone in the country looks at Aliso Beach the same way, but many of the common things we see at this beach, would come with a level of enthusiasm and excitement that is marginalized by our weekly beach visits. Everyone should want to come see this place.  It is a miracle, and although we can’t duplicate the vacation experience when coming to Aliso Beach, we can say that we think that this South Laguna Beach gem is one of those places that everyone should come see.  It’s gorgeous!

As we move in to winter, our friends in their golden years are looking to stay warm.  Many of them are looking for warmer parts of the country to spend their retirement years. While the Aliso and South Laguna Beach area may be cost prohibitive for many to live, it will always be worthy of a vacation.  If asked my opinion, I would say that Aliso Beach should be on the American Bucket List. Clearly I am playing favorites here with Aliso Beach, but I am confident that those who have never been there will be overwhelmed by the peace and serenity found in a single beach day closed with remarkable sunset.  It is an exquisite beach and should be a bucket list beach for people all over this world.  Come visit Aliso Beach.

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