Tag Archives: South Laguna

Great White Shark Activity


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Whitney L Anderson with Great White Shark Painting

From the near fatal Great White Shark Attack at San Onofre weeks ago and the OC Sheriffs Helicopter warning a paddle boarder of being in the middle of a pack of 15 sharks to personally seeing sharks thrash around the water 10 feet or less from the sand and the OC Register report of a shark at Thousand Steps Beach, the danger has become very real to this South Orange County Body Boarder and ocean enthusiast. A friend in Laguna Beach had suggested that there was a sighting at Aliso Beach several weeks back and I immediately drove up to Aliso to speak with a lifeguard supervisor who was unaware of any sighting.  That day curiosity got the best of me and I headed to Capo Beach where there has been many daily sightings over the last several weeks.  Sure enough, I got to see them in the surf zone at a spot I have paddled out at in years past.  I was moved by the fear of a friend of mine who has been in the San Clemente to Laguna community as a former professional body boarder for the bulk of his life.  I would like to acknowledge Joe Grodzen and I wanted to relay the sentiment of what he said on Facebook.  He spoke of his deep ties to the ocean and those of his wife Keila whom is also a former professional body boarder.  Raising a young boy and giving him the gift of beach and surfing culture, it is not lost on Joe how concerning the rash of shark sightings from San Onofre to Long Beach, California is.  Joe for the most part is a very unflappable, competitive and in the moment kind of personality.  What he said was very raw and very real.  Reading his thoughts, I was affected by the fear he had related to the presence of these sharks in what perhaps is a new normal along our coastline with regular visits.  He echoed the sentiment that he may have to give a second thought to being in the water to keep he and his family safe.  Joe has been at this far longer than I have, and to hear a man that has spent nearly every day of his life since he has been old enough to walk in local ocean waters express a genuine concern for his safety, it definitely caught my attention.

Still trying to process the swarm of so many sharks in the area, I did return a second time to Capo Beach noticing the shark warning signs, and eventually seeing one splash around 10 feet or less from shore.  It is probably not a good idea to be in the water at all at Capo.  Rumor has it that boats and perhaps kayakers are chumming the waters to attract the sharks.  Some of these boats are alleged to be whale boats capitalizing on the presence of these toothy new inhabitants of Capo Waters.  Any reasonable human being should not approve of throwing blood and guts into the water near shore for commercial gain, capturing footage or taking photographs.  This is a really bad idea that may contribute to a fatality and should be stopped immediately.  My hope is the lifeguards and authorities can identify those perpetrators and force them to stop.  As far as I can see that is harassment of a federally protected shark but what do I know.  If this is being done please stop this very reckless behavior.

Since I spend more time at Salt Creek and the coves of Laguna Beach, I felt like I was relatively safe in the zones I like to play in.  Given the explosion of shark numbers close to shore in San Clemente and Capo Beach, the idea that there are no great whites near shore at Salt Creek and Laguna Beaches rests on quicksand.  It simply doesn’t hold.  A Laylan Connelly, Orange County Register Article, shattered my idealized safe zones with a shark spotting at South Laguna’s Thousand Steps Beach and the mention of a shark advisory at Salt Creek.  Say it isn’t so!  I don’t know what I am going to do personally and I am feeling like I may put myself on a self-imposed time out, and as Joe Grodzen so eloquently said, what are we going to do? Ocean enthusiasts have built their lives around washing away all that ails them in the ocean and doing something athletically that keeps them happy.  I don’t know the answer to this question, and I suppose time will tell.  Having paddled way out at Salt Creek and sitting in the kelp paddies, I admit that I have thought about the unseen below that perhaps I don’t want to know is there. The ocean and local waters are home to the Great White Shark, but I cannot say that in over the 30 years I have spent time in these waters, that this is normal in any way shape or form.   How I feel about this situation will in no way dictate the behavior of sharks and where they choose to set up shop.  While I pray that their presence will come to pass and they head out to deeper waters, their continued presence could put a damper on what little ocean time I have as it is.  Having had a fin pop up on me in Baja while body boarding alone at a northern stretch of La Fonda, I really don’t want to find myself in that situation again.  Fortunately, a well-timed set arrival got me out of there before I could stare into the intentions of presumably a Great White Shark…and I prefer that to be the last time I find myself in the water with one.

I would like to take a moment to thank my friend and artist Whitney L. Anderson, a brilliant painter and collage artist residing in Seattle, Washington.

Website:  http://www.whitneylanderson.com

Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/whitneylanderson_art


Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Events, Aliso Beach News, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Beach Safety, Aliso Creek, Aliso Creek Beach, Dana Point, Laguna, Laguna Beach, Laguna News, Salt Creek, South Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach News Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Trash To Treasure


Have you ever heard the saying “One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure”?  I haven’t come across that statement in a while but it was the first thing that came to mind after visiting Aliso Beach two consecutive weekends in a scene representing trash to treasure.

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Aliso Beach Debris from storm runoff.

We have experienced a rainy season for the record books.  I hate to say it but rain and Southern California are like an oxymoron most seasons.  This winter has proven to be a very memorable one for weather, rain and snow.  While it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not the wet season is over, the snow pack has been measured well over 100% of normal, California dams have been stressed to near breaking points and roads have been washed away with cars overcome by torrents of water under heavy downpours.  Our local Southern California Beaches, including Aliso Beach, Laguna, are on the receiving end of all the runoff and whatever it carries down stream from storm drains, washes, creeks and rivers.  With significant rain over short periods of time, you can imagine all the things swept down into our ocean and deposited back on our beaches. Plastics, bottles, toys, wrappers, bottle caps, cigarette butts, styrofoam cups, baggies and even dreaded syringes as seen recently in Newport Beach near the River Jetties.  Also ending up on the beach from heavy rain and wind events were leaves, twigs, tree branches, logs and driftwood.  At times it seems like you could take a rake to the top layer of the ocean surface along our coastline, and those logs and branches put wave riders at risk of serious injury.

That first trip to Aliso Beach, there was an unsightly pile of wood and branches just south of the main lifeguard tower.  It was, however, cleared from the beach and shoreline and staged for removal.  This is where the ingenuity of a father spending time with his son transformed the debris from trash to treasure.  I had no doubt the County of Orange, who does a great job of maintaining Aliso Beach, was going to come in and remove the pile of wood.  Probably because of consecutive days of rain, they were unable to get the debris out of there, or they figured they would add to the pile during additional rain events so they could clean up the beach all at once.  It is completely logical to me.  The picture to the left shows the wood all piled up steps from the parking lot and ready to be hauled out of there.  Given that our winters in recent years have not produced much rain, it was somewhat surprising to see a pike of branches and wood like that on the beach.  Some of the branches were substantial, and with all of the trees that came down in South Orange County along the coastline, it really wasn’t any surprise to see that kind and volume of wood deposited on the beach.  I am wondering if the Full Moon Drum Circle group saw that pile of wood.  It would have made for a great night with plenty of wood to keep everyone warm!


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A fort built by a father and son with wood washed to the beach from winter Southern California storms.

While the pile of wood certainly wasn’t hurting anyone, a father and a son went on a building spree.  They took the larger wood pieces and buried them vertically in the sand.  I was surprised that with the girth of the branches that the sand would keep them standing upright.  As far as I know, no one was injured in the evolution of trash to treasure in what I call the making of an Aliso Beach fort.  I have to admire the father.  It takes the ability of a parent to think creatively like a child to entertain a child.  I remember how much I liked forts as a kid, and to be child-like was worthy of my attention and a smile.  In that moment, it felt like all was right in the world and that everything was okay.

The picture below, is the result of a creative father showing his son a good time.  It was cool to think back to my own childhood and how forts at summer camp at home were a big part of my own childhood!  My guess, by the looks of him, is that the little dude had a really good time!  I was truly happy for them and grateful to be under the smiling eyes of Mr. Sun.  Is it summer yet?




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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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Merry Christmas


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Traditional Christmas lights at Aliso Beach

Merry Christmas!  There I said it heartfelt and unapologetic. I say it without the need to condemn people of other faiths or to make others feel I am above them on the basis of my own beliefs.  In saying Merry Christmas, I am genuinely wishing you and family a wonderful holiday season.  What you believe or what your faith is when I wish you a Merry Christmas is irrelevant to my desire to let you know I care and wish happiness and health to you, family and friends.

I think with all that is going on the world today people find it easy to disconnect from one another on the basis of faith and it works both ways.  I do not wish Merry Christmas to you to infringe upon your beliefs or to try and convert you to my own. I am simply extending my best wishes to you and family on a faith based holiday I know I observe but that not all Americans do.  It is a warm gesture and a sentiment that values people in an effort to find more reasons for togetherness and less reasons for divisiveness.  At the end of the day, we are all people experiencing life’s struggles on this  planet that rotates around the sun and spins around in a galaxy that is far too vast to believe we are all alone.  While Christmas has its roots in Christianity, wishing someone a Merry Christmas is an act of kindness.  It is an expression of love for people regardless of their faith.  All religions teach human compassion, kindness, understanding and love.  The gesture of wishing someone a Merry Christmas is a way for Christians to extend that compassion and love to others regardless of their faiths or religions.  There is no reason it can’t be viewed as an act of friendship and human compassion and yet it often feels like Christianity is on a hot seat.

One of the greatest freedoms we have in this country is freedom of religion.  People have escaped violence, torture and persecution to get to this country where they may practice their faith without the atrocities committed against people like we see in the news.  I take no issue with that and celebrate the diversity, but I do not want the act of wishing someone a Merry Christmas to come with the expectation that I apologize because we don’t share faiths.  I don’t utter those words with the expectation that you join my religion and in fact, my heartfelt wishes for you this holiday season come unencumbered.  There is no pressure to do anything when I extend those wishes to you.  Hopefully, when you hear Merry Christmas, you smile and accept that as a sincere wish for you during a holiday season celebrated or not, to enjoy good health, family, friends, peace and happiness.  That is all it needs to be, nothing more, and nothing less.  I get the feeling that in today’s world, this nauseating expectation of political correctness is starting to suffocate good people of all faiths.   I will not let this reality or perceived reality, to drown out my holiday spirit.  Merry Christmas from the team at Aliso Beach, where a diverse group of beach enthusiasts, wave riders and visitors all come to enjoy good surf, fire pits, drum circles, warm sand, sunsets, tranquil blue water and moments of peace in a chaos-filled world.  It doesn’t matter where you are from or the faith you practice at Aliso Beach.  If Aliso Beach brings you peace and happiness, we say welcome and enjoy!

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Art Walk Laguna


Do not miss Art Walk Laguna this Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 at Laguna Foundation For The Arts gallery !  Water Sculptures from Scotty Carter will have a half room dedicated to the celebration of water in a portrayal of waves that is extraordinary and beautiful.  No two water sculptures are alike with mind bending intricacies, color and detail.  It may be said that this is the best exhibit yet in the notable career of Scotty Carter as an artist and fine art photographer.  For this gallery and Laguna Beach Art Walk, some of his best work has been curated and displayed as finished products.  You will find that most of the pieces are framed, and the purchaser needs to do nothing but hang it in their desired spot.  There will be a couple of acrylic display pieces that while unframed, are finished and ready for display.  I feel like this is Scotty’s most ambitious, complete showing and that it will be enjoyed and talked about for some time.

In preparation for the December Art Walk Laguna, Tony and Stan are making things happen.  The room Scotty will be exhibited in is close to being finished.  The hanging party will be held tomorrow night or Thursday morning.  There is still much to do but everyone involved is super excited. The floor is being finished and sealed as well as track lighting being installed in the room which will show the art the way it should be.  It is going to be awesome!

Come join us at Art Walk Laguna on Thursday.  Scotty Carter art is a must see and don’t forget, purchases made through Laguna Foundation For the Arts include a 30% tax deductible donation credit. The foundation is a 5013c charitable organization making possible the a valuable tax deduction.

We hope to see you there!

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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!



Re-charged, revjuvenated, reinvigorated and soothed soul.




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

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.

sunset, south laguna, south laguna beach sunset

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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Paradise is a relative term to how an individual views a destination and surroundings.  It can be so many things to so many different people. To someone like me, who loves the South Laguna Beach coastline, Aliso Beach is paradise.

I left work early today.  I am in marketing and sales, and this time of year, my clients pull back on their marketing.  With valuable tax write offs and the fact that most businesses deemed as competition reverse their gears during the holidays, I would push as hard as I could when everyone takes a breather to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas. Maybe it’s just me.

I took the toll road from Costa Mesa to the Laguna Canyon exit. Half way to the coast around 3 pm, the canyon started to back up with cars.  After a little ways, the traffic broke up and I was soon sitting at the light at the intersection of Laguna Canyon and Pacific Coast Highway.  Young girls coming from the beach paraded in front of cars at the intersection in bikinis far to revealing for my tastes but those are the styles today.  With a faint breeze, the ocean surface was calm, flat and glassy.  I could smell the salt in the air.  Main Beach was it’s typical mixture of tourists, shoppers, beach goers and locals as I made the left turn on to Highway 1.

I stopped off at the Laguna Foundation For The Arts Gallery in South Laguna.  I have taken an active role in helping them build out their new vision for art and the city of Laguna.  The progress on getting the gallery ready was both shocking and pleasing since I am bringing artists I represent to this new location.  I had a short talk with Tony who is one of the principals in the non-profit that has organized this gallery. As it stands, I am very pleased with the progress and look forward to this journey.  I honestly believe it will be a wildly successful venture that simultaneously benefits Laguna, the artists and the foundation that supports artists.

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Aliso Beach blow hole!

After leaving the gallery I stopped off at my favorite sport Aliso Beach.  There were families and tourists enjoying the beach with children frolicking in the unseasonably warm water. None of those kids were using wet suits and neither were some of the community’s talented skim boarders that were doing there thing.  I walked down the beach hoping that the tide pools on the south end were at a low enough tide to verify the presence of sea stars.  As some of you know, sea star wasted disease has wiped out much of the region’s sea stars with a lesion causing disease that for the most part melts away the creature into the next life.  It’s terrible.  Walking out to the edge of the reef, I was unable to locate any sea stars which was disappointing.

As I walked back towards the north end of the beach, families were investigation the tide pools, photographers were shooting models against the sea cliff and beach goers were chilling under umbrellas taking in the sights.  It was beautiful!  I have come to expect this type of experience at Aliso Beach.  My love affair with this Laguna Beach has spanned the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s and there are no signs of that changing.

Walking back I snapped a couple of pictures from my IPhone 6 Plus.  When there is little to no surf, small waves push into the crevice of a rock at the south end of the beach sending water through the rocks and spouting upward from the pressure.  It mimics a blow hole in a way and it is fascinating the way the water is spit skyward when it is pushed into the rocks with surging waves.

I am not sure people can understand how peaceful my walk was and how taking in the scenery at Aliso Beach is a ritual of self-cleansing and rejuvenation that the mind, body and spirit needs.  Aliso Beach was gorgeous today and it has become a paradise that removes me from the stresses of every day life that stain people in ways that color their attitudes and contributes to projecting frustration on others.  I don’t want to be unloading my problems or stresses on others.  I use Aliso Beach to remove the toxins caused by the chaos of daily life.  My hope is that in coming to Aliso Beach, I wipe away my burdens so that I can be the best person I can be at work and to others everywhere and always.

What a paradise Aliso Beach is!  The place is like a dream and I owe it my respect and gratitude.  I am forever changed by this wonderfully, peaceful place.


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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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Life Saver


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Little girl saved at Aliso Creek in South Laguna Beach.

A life saver, hero, and Good Samaritan are fitting labels that come to mind when a human beings put their own lives on the line to save another.  This past weekend, a near tragic event occurred at Aliso Creek with a little girl sinking into Aliso Creek and finding herself in a deadly position.  If it weren’t for the help of photographer Larry Beard and Brennan Clarke, a family would have lost a precious child.  It is interesting to note that Brennan in years previous was a big part of a collaborative effort with lifeguards saving a woman who was dragged out to sea in 15 foot waves at Aliso Beach.  When you are around the ocean daily, dangers escalate quickly and the inexperienced often find themselves in the worst of conditions.  There are a lot of people in the San Clemente, Dana Point, South Laguna and Laguna beach areas that routinely offer assistance to waders, swimmers, body surfers and wave riders when they are in trouble, and I am proud to be a part of this community and know these amazing people.

This is Brennan describing the near tragedy (with small grammar corrections by me ) in a Facebook Message to me:

“So Larry, myself, and a couple kids were digging the standing wave . There were kids running around playing, nothing out of the ordinary. Larry and I turn around to go to our cars. I was grabbing a board and Larry went to get his camera gear to set up. When we turned around we saw this little girl starting to sink in the creek. She was walking and started to sink into the deep section of the creek which was close to the start of the river. Larry sprinted forward with myself behind jumped into the creek and pulled the girl from the water, which by that time was submerged. She was surrounded by family, a lifeguard, photographers and wave riders, and literally no one noticed. One of the heaviest things I’ve seen was the terror on her face and her trying to keep her head above water because she couldn’t swim.”

Mother Nature is cruel and Aliso Beach in South Laguna, California is one of those places that can take a life with the blink of an eye.  It is difficult to understand how a child that doesn’t know how to swim is in a

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Family surrounds little girl that almost drowned in waters of Aliso Creek

creek like Aliso, especially as it is letting out.  That type of situation has disaster written all over it.  I have spent a fair amount of time talking about the dangers of Aliso Beach from the nasty shore break waves it typically has and how parents really need to focus on their children there.  I have also talked a fair amount about becoming educated on waves, wave conditions and rip currents.  Aliso Creek is another story altogether, and when that thing is letting out it is extremely dangerous.

That a little girl was saved from a violent drowning in the turbulent waters of Aliso Creek is probably a miracle.  One second longer and it was entirely possible a child would have left our world way too early. Nobody wants that to happen!  What Larry Beard did was heroic, and it allowed this precious little lady to return home with family on a day that could have ended in the tragic loss of life.  I don’t know what this girl was doing in the Creek, and she never should have been there.  I am glad that Larry and Brennan were there because without them seeing her struggle in the water, I don’t think we would be talking about a happy ending.

Brennan also said: “She swallowed some creek water I’m sure and hopefully the family took the lifeguards advise and went to the doctor. A second later and I don’t want to think about what would’ve happened, but I can’t emphasize enough that she was surrounded by people from parents, family members, a lifeguard, and random tourists.  No one noticed.”

I am pleased to end this harrowing story by saying I am glad that she was rescued and that people I spend time with in the water were there to make sure she got to go home with family.

Photo Credit: Larry Beard….the heroic lifesaver!



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