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Saturday, January 30, 2016

There's Something Fishy!

Montetey is known for "Cannery Row", now a tourist destination, that was once a thriving sardine fishing and canning operation in California.

Around the Monterey area are interesting facts of the past life in the area on various panels.

In reading the details on one of these panels about sardines I was not surprised to learn that sardines are from the herring family of fish.

What I was surprised to learn was that the Monterey Sardines were larger than what we commonly know as sardines in the cans today.

What I was surprised to learn from this information panel was that the Monterey Sardines were marketed with different names to different ethnic groups.

To African Americans - "Salmon Sardines"

To the Jewish as "Herring Sardines"

I also didn't realize that canned sardines played such a significant role in feeding the troops in World War I.

I have often passed by these informative panels mounted around Monterey and other towns that I travel through.

Stopping to spend the minute to read this panel gave me a whole new appreciation for what has been right in front of my face that provides interesting information.

Now I'm on the look out for interesting panels.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Where Did The Beach Go?

(Carmel By The Sea Beach)

After the visit to Fort Ord State Park Beach where Acer was with his flying machine (see blog on Acer with his flying machine), it was a woman at Point Sur that said to check out The Carmel By The Sea Beach, meaning the beach was also missing.

Friday was the destination of the day to check out the beach.  Friday also had high surf warnings so the waves should be large.

As you can see it was a foggy misty day and in the picture above at the end of Ocean Ave indeed the beach is missing.

The sand comes down the steep slope and Ryen there is no beach sand in the tidal area.

(Carmel By The Sea Beach)

Taking the picture at the high water mark you can see the sand on the right ends and there is no beach.

(Carmel By The Sea Beach)

A closer picture here shows a 4-5 foot drop with no beach sand at tidal level.

(Google satellite view of Carmel By The Sea Beach)

From the Google picture you can see the beach sand is in the tidal area,

So sand is missing at Fort Ord Beach in Monterey Bay and also missing here.

Where did the sand go?

(Photo of sign on Boardwalk railing at Carmel By The Sea Beach)

At the overlooking boardwalk at Carmel Beach at the bottom of Ocean Ave. Is this sign with the answer.

(Detailed insert from above)

This detailed insert of the sign above shows summer conditions with the sand and beach there.

(Detailed insert from above)

The winter insert picture shows the sand removed at the beach and moved out to a sandbar just out from shore.

I live on Massachusetts and shifting sands is not uncommon on the east coast, but I was unaware of the dramatic aspect of the amount of changes that actually occur.

As I learned at Point Sur (see separate post on Point Sur) the sand also is dragged down the coast and the coastline is changed by the shifting sands.

This is how the sand at the Carmel Beach is controlled and restored.  Thousands of people visit Carmel By The Sea each year from all over the world and bulldozers push the sand back to the beach every spring.

Here is a picture of the Carmel coast high surf due to weather.

Downtown Carmel By The Sea always has flowers to greet visitors.

A trip to Carmel is always an opportunity to do window shopping at relatively hi priced shops and have lunch at one of the many excellent restaurants.

The choice of restaurants today is the Dametra Cafe just up from the beach on Ocean Ave.  I chose the gyro for lunch and the food was as excellent as the service.  Well worth checking out if you are in the area.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Elkhorn Slough Reserve - Protecting The Coastal Waterways

The word Slough is not that common in North American English so I feel it best to first share the definition.  The following is from a Google search.

  1. 1
    a swamp.
    • 2
      a situation characterized by lack of progress or activity.
      "the economic slough of the interwar years"

    About midway between Monterey and Santa Cruz, California is Moss Landing and just to the east is Elkhorn Slough.

    A Thursday morning stop to hike the reserve trails finds buses of school children also visiting during a school trip.

    Before the hike one of the visitor center employees highlights where wildlife sightings are often encountered along the miles of trails in 2500 acres of marsh, tidal, woods and fields.

    The a Reserve was set aside to protect one of the few remaining coastal waterways in California.

    The hike of the grounds starts out on a gradual slop down to the backwater with the ocean just over the horizon.  In fact, the ocean waves crashing can be heard in off in the distance.

    The water that comprises the reserve is fed both by fresh and majority salt water

    Off in the distance is the Moss Landing power station.  We had a blackout while in Montetey that lasted a number of hours due to a transmission line.

    The woman in the information center had advised that the finger islands you see in the distance (above) were created by The Army Corp of Engineers dredging the area. They moved the dredged material to form the islands.

    The land was originally a farm and now two older buildings remain as evidence of its previous existence.

    This large steel cow barn maintains a presence and a place to attract barn owls.  None are around this time of year.

    The Elkhorn Farm name once had all the letter segments on the sign and there used to be cows to go with it.  

    Boardwalks take visitors out to bird and sometimes shark viewing areas.

    Here a sharp eye can see the small birds with the same brown color as the background.

    There are narrow levees to walk to various parts of the reserve.

    This alge has an interesting color and texture.  It would make a great picture puzzle with the ripples and shades of green.

    There is a larger island on the property that appears to have been used as a place to relax during the farms existence.

    On the island that is over an acre in size has this reflecting pond with sculptured end made from concentric rock and sea shell layers.  It took a lot of work to make and now is left unmanaged.

    To get to the island you need to cross the train track.  You could hear the train coming miles away.

    I waited for the train to get there so I could take s picture of it.

    It is the passenger train that goes from Los Angeles to San Fransisco. 

    The land is not all close to water as it has many fields too.

    Another interesting site was this pond and eucalyptus trees.

    Of course there are flowers along the way.

    Then away from the water is this sign warning of a mountain lion siting in the area and precautions to take.

    Possibly they should review this before you start the hike.

    I tracked the hike using my AllTrails App covering nearly every trail in the reserve.  The hike covered 6.4 miles and 344 ft elevation in 2 hours 15 minutes of moving time.

    It was a cool day with a couple sprinkles but the hike was up and down so the cool temps were refreshing.

    Although not as dramatic as the ocean views I have posted it is a nice place to see wildlife.  This is a print from a small deer, but none were seen even though tracks were seen all over the reserve.

    I'm not sure what animal made these tracks but possibly sea otters as it was mentioned that they are often seen.


    Wednesday, January 27, 2016

    Big Sur & King Tides

    While in Monterey, CA I was treated with higher than normal surf due to full moon and storms.  They refer to them as "Kibg "Tides"

    It made for great surf watching as in the crashing wave above at Big Sur south of Monterey.

    To enhance the ocean viewing is the spectacular coastline.  This rocky section of coast at Big Sur is in contrast to the fine sandy beaches and high sand dunes in Monterey Bay and then the mini marble rock beaches called Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula.

    This small bay on the Big Sur Coast is famous as the Bixby Bridge passes over the canyon below.

    Here is the Bixby Bridge that is known for being picturesque, and by a small group base jumping enthusiasts a great place to leap off.  A woman and a man jumped off while I've been here and are presumed dead from drowning.  Days after their apparent jump someone reported equipment on the beach below (two pictures above).  It was the camera that one was wearing that is helping the investigators determine what might have happened, but high surf is believed to have played a role.  Read how they believe it all happened.

    Here is a link to the story:

    This picture was taken at the same time as the others but looks different due to the angle of the sun and perpetual haze from the ocean.

    Along the coast of Big Sur are cliffs, rocks and beaches inbetween.  There are many places to stop and walk out to take photographs and other places where you can get to the secluded beaches.

    It's one of those places that you don't want to miss on your cross country trip.

    Point Sur Lighthouse

    While at the 6th Annual Whalefest at the old Fisherman's Warf in Monterey, CA over the weekend the Point Sur Lighthouse staff had a booth handing out brochures about their historic site approximately 30 miles south of Monterey.

    Since they are only open Wednesday through Sunday, Wednesday was the first opportunity to tour the site at the north end of the famous Big Sur coast.

    (Google Map showing the location)

    Way at the top of the map you can see Pacific Grove.  Monterey is just to the right of it under the a Google banner.

    The drive took the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) to mile post 54.1 at the entrance to a farmer field (top photo) as this is where we will be met to be escorted to the base of the mountain that is the site of the Point Sur Lighthouse and complex called a lighthouse station.

    After giving your name and number in the vehicle it was about a mile drive to the parking lot at the base of the mountain.  Driving in requires caution as cattle are grazing, some are in the road and we have to wait for them.

    We all park at the base of the mountain, where our 3 hour tour starts (yes 3 hour tour). They only accept 40 people on the tour but this time of year there is no problem having just less than 20 today.  It is first come first serve as you line up at the gate on the PCH.

    Above, Tom is our guide for the first half of the tour.  We stop every couple hundred feet to allow everyone to catch up as it is a steep incline to the top of this mountain, that once was an island during high tide, when the lighthouse was first built.

    Overtime shifting sand on the coast filled in the land between the island and the mainland to make a solid landmass now.

    Tom explains that this was a light station as there were families who lived here to man the station.  To make this site acceptable for living they needed to level the top by 80 feet.  They had to climb over 300 stairs to get to the top and all supplies including water needed to be carried up.

    Looking south on the light station access road that was built in the early part of the 1900's you can see the Big Sur coastline.

    When the site was first set up as a lighthouse supplies came by ship every 3-4 months as it went up and down the coast providing supplies to 10 California lighthouses.

    The photo is a bit grainy as I had to blow up the picture but that is a dolphin swimming below us.  There is a lot of sea to find Sea Otters, Sea Lions that were resting on the ragged rocks below, and whales blowing waterspouts about a mile out at sea.

    The recent rain has brought out a lot of flowering plants.

    Steam powered lifts were added over time to bring supplies to the top.  Removing the need to haul supplies up a ladder and later rope systems.

    Our first glance of the lighthouse.  It was put down on the side of the mountain to stay visible in the low marine cloud layer that often forms along the California coast.

    Now at the lighthouse, Patty our other guide, took over.  Patty and Tom are two of 80 volunteers to operate this state park, as the only fully volunteer state park in California.

    This is the picture of the original lighting system and lenses at the lighthouse.

    The lighthouse continues to operate with electric spotlights today.

    Here is a picture of the original light mechanism, now located at the Museum of Monterey (MOM), in Monterey.  I took photos of the lenses last year when I went to the museum on my 2015 Travels.

    We will now as assend the remaining elevation 61 stairs to the top.

    Here is the beach to the north of the lighthouse.

    There was a notable incident here when the blimp Macon, three times the length of a 747 that crashed here with 83 crew onboard in the 1930's.  All but 2 survived.

    The Macon was one of two originally built to carry biplanes inside and was the first aircraft carrier.  The biplanes could clip on stantions that retracted inside the blimp with the planes.

    The Macon now sits in 1500 ft of water where it came to rest after it drifted and sank south and a bit out to sea from here.

    For more on the Macon see the following link.

    Here you can see the newer electric Spotlight that was put here by the Coast Guard when they ran the station.

    In looking at the stairs and this walkway I estimated the cost in materials to build and maintain this.

    The volunteers charge $12 for the tour and use this entrance money, sale of items in guift shop, and other donations to maintain and renovate the buildings.

    They have done a wonderful job.  When I arrived there were 4 volunteers planting sea grass at the area where people parked to hold back the shifting sands.

    I zoomed into this wave from the top of the mountain as the angle of the lower sun turned the mist from the wave into a rainbow.  My photo doesn't do the rainbow justice but you can see a tinge of color on the mist at the top of the wave.

    On top there is a barn to the right that has been fully renovated.  Straight away is a replica of a water tower that was built by AT&T in payment for allowing them to put antenna on the mountain.  Behind me is a carpenter/blacksmith shop that has also been renovated.  Volunteers have stocked with period tools in both through donations and purchases off of eBay.

    You can see the quality of the renovation work on the barn.

    The stone building ahead was built originally for up to 4 families that lived here and the husbands worked on the site.

    At times when sufficient children were here a teacher would be boarded during the week to provide instruction.

    A view of the nearby mountains to the east.

    A better view of the barn.  The second floor is a work area for today's volunteers and the bottom is open for displays.  When the Coast Guard was here the second floor was for games such as pool.

    A look down to where our cars were parked for the tour and the long road in.  This is the area that used to be tidewater but is now land.

    The building to the right was the lighthouse keepers family home.

    Here is the stats on the hike up the mountain.  Under 2 miles, 331 ft in elevation and 34 minutes of moving out of 3 hours of touring.

    This is an excellent tour that was well worth the $12.00.  As for a fun volunteering opportunity this would be one.