Lovely afternoon spent following the pelicans, gulls & terns feeding frenzy on Anchovy fish from Sunset Cliffs to Ocean Beach. The birds followed the fish, I followed the birds & ended up out on the OB Pier. Even the dolphins came to join in the fish party!
OCEAN BEACH PIER photographed from a distance (looking north to the pier). The Ocean Beach Pier is the 2nd longest pier on the west coast. The end of the pier is a t-shape, which extends the pier north & south, too.
View to the beach from the very end of the pier. See how long it is? This is why it’s like being out in a boat when you walk out on the pier!
At my local library, I found a beautiful picture book with all the piers in California. It was really fun to see how many piers I’ve actually been out in the state. Wouldn’t this be a fun bucket list trip?
This is a little café & bait shop on the pier. I like how you can sit inside & the view is of the end of the pier. Something about being out on the pier makes me think of the romance of making a living from the sea, but living by-the-sea is pretty romantic, too!
Here’s the view of the t-end of the pier & looking back to shore.
Walking out onto the pier is like being out in a boat without being on a boat! It’s quite a long walk & the view back towards the beach is wonderful. I really like how the pier is out beyond the wave breaks & the surfers. When you watch the waves breaking from behind them, it’s such an odd feeling & sort of reminded me like riding on a train backwards.
What led me out to the pier was following the feeding frenzy of the pelicans, terns & sea gulls on a giant school of anchovy fish.
I love it when the pelicans dive into the water! There were so many anchovy fish that the terns didn’t even have to dive. They just swooped down & scooped the tiny silver fish in their beaks & flew off. A meal without even getting wet!
This is a photo of one of the anchovy fish that a fisherman was using for his fishing bait. There has been a gigantic school of anchovy fish here recently & that’s what all the birds were feasting on.
The Ocean Beach pier is a very popular spot for fishing as the pier is long enough that the fishermen are fishing in very deep water out past the kelp beds offshore. Being out on the pier with fishermen gave me the opportunity to see what they were catching. I’m interested in this because I can actually see what the wild life I love is catching & eating. (I don’t eat fish myself.)
The first fish I saw is a Yellow Croaker fish. The dolphins eat this fish a lot. It’s a large fish & has a little “barbel” on the end of it’s mouth. It’s called a Croaker fish because it makes a sort of drumming noise. This fish is more a surf fish & the man who caught this bucket of fish caught them from the shore, not from the pier.
Pacific Bonito & Pacific Mackerel fish are so beautiful. Sea lions love Pacific Mackerel fish! I like the turquoise sheen on them & the stripes that remind me of the patterns of water. I researched these fish on the California Department of Fish & Wildlife website. You can go there and look up information about fish and see a photo and drawing of the fish, too.
I felt sad for these dying fish, but the cycle of life is for all of us on this planet. As an environmentalist, I think I have a responsibility to know as much as I can about nature. As an artist by-the-sea & a naturalist, I want to know more about ocean life.
This was such a lovely day to have a stay-cation by-the-sea.
This first week in July started out with a giant school of anchovy fish off of the coast of La Jolla! This is the biggest anchovy school seen in more than 30 years. The video on the news was so wondrous to see as the school of fish swam away from the people in the water and you could see the school of fish change shape. It reminded me of the murmuration of Starling birds which is another similar movement, but of birds instead of fish.
You can watch the Scripps Institution of Oceanography video of this wonder of nature here:
If you would like to see the murmuration of Starlings, you can view it here:
Don’t you think they have similar movements? Performance art by nature.
I noticed that there were a lot of Cormorants on Seal Rock this week, which is a bit unusual. It took me a few days to realize that the birds are moving there to get away from where they used to be, which is now swarming with people. It brings me joy to know that the Cormorants have gone to where they feel safer and cannot be harassed by people. They cannot live on this rock as high tides wash over it, but still it’s nice to know they have a place to sit in peace for some of the day.
La Jolla Cove is where the Cormorants used to spend their day (along with the pelicans and sea lions), but the City of San Diego has encouraged people to walk down there now. The people have chased away all the birds and instead of hundreds of sea lions, there are only about 30 of them left. The City of San Diego was sued by some La Jolla restaurants and hotels regarding the odor of the wild life there so they opened a gate to allow the ignorant and uncaring tourists to chase away the wild life, which they have done. This used to be my “happy place” now all I see is lifeguard tower construction and people harassing the sea lions. Really sad.
These photos show the La Jolla Cove after public access was opened. As you can see it’s an ugly and dead area now, which is filled with people instead of wild life. Look at the photos before & you can see that it was a little piece of paradise. (By the way people could still go to the beach at the Cove just not walk out onto the bluffs.)
It was unbelievable to me that on the 4th of July, the fireworks were shot right off the bluff. What little wildlife is left there had to endure fireworks being shot almost right over them. People were laughing and bbq’ing all the while that wild life was suffering. Some 4th of July celebration. By the way, this area is part of a protected marine area so I cannot understand why fireworks were even allowed there at all because fireworks cause environmental pollution too.
Speaking of tourists impacting my “happy place”, one of the problems we have here is a tremendous trail of tons of garbage left behind by visitors. The photo below is trash picked up off of one tiny beach left one by the tourists. Thankfully the high tide had not come in to sweep the garbage out to sea. Do the tourists really not care that the beautiful area they are coming to see is being ruined by them? Ugh. A friend and I carried 16 hotel beach towels, an umbrella, 2 beach mats, a 4 foot wide green inner tube and all of these beach toys up a flight of stairs and loaded it all up into the trunk of my car. I took the towels to the Laundromat and washed them, hosed off all of the kids toys and took all of it to a thrift shop so they could sell the stuff. Apparently a lot of the tourists are going home somewhere with no ocean and think it’s just okay to abandon the stuff they have on the beach. One friend of mine belongs to a group of residents who walk the beach at 6 a.m. every morning and she carries 2 trash bags with her – one for stuff that can be cleaned and donated to thrift shops and one bag for all the trash – drink cups, soda & beer cans, condoms, cigarette butts, etc. It is ironic to me that humans want to drive off the “smelly and filthy” wild life, when it is clear to me who the smelly and filthy creatures really are.
Oh one more thing, when the City of San Diego workers pick up this massive amount of garbage left by the tourists on our beaches, it all goes to the landfill. It simply is not feasible for the City of San Diego to do otherwise as the amount of trash left by tourists is tons. Yes, literally tons.
Someone left this message on the construction fence at the Cove.
As an artist by-the-sea, it is a constant challenge to try to protect the wild life & environment here. Living by-the-sea is what inspires my art. The sea brings me balance and peace, but not when the tourists have invaded the area. It makes me acutely aware that when people go on vacation somewhere that we are visiting someone else’s home and that they love their home as much as I love San Diego. I just wish that the people who came here realized that this is our home, too. I also wish that the residents of San Diego would step up and protect what they love about San Diego before the tourists destroy what we love so much and it is gone. Once this wild life leaves, it won’t come back. Once our oceans are filled with plastics and garbage, it will be terribly hard to undo. Once the bluffs are covered with graffiti, the beauty of them will not be seen.
There is a protected beach in Laguna Beach that has a beautiful sign to remind visitors that they are visiting a protected area. If it were up to me, the City of San Diego would have these signs all along our beach front and every single beach would be a protected area. Did you know that the American Indians thought that the La Jolla Cove was sacred ground? It is. I feel it when I am there. It is such a tragedy that the people who come and visit here don’t feel that and that even the residents that live here don’t understand that we need to protect our environment here before it’s too late. I will never, ever agree with those who say to me that beaches belong to people and that people trump wild life. Beaches don’t belong to anybody. Beaches belong to all of us who live on this planet, which includes the sea lions, harbor seals, pelicans, sea gulls, cormorants, snowy egrets, hermit crabs, starfish, sea anemones, and fish and yes, people, too, but people don’t trump wild life. Ever. Obviously, I know that not all tourists and not all residents hate the wild life. I frequently speak to visitors here who want to know where all the seals are and have come specifically to enjoy the wild life. I also have friends who will no longer come to the La Jolla Cove because of the harassment of wild life. In the height of the tourist season in San Diego, when the Cove is over run by hundreds of thousands of people, it is hard to remember that there are people who appreciate and love this place as much as I do. We all impact our environment and we each must take responsibility for our personal footprint on this planet. I hesitated to publish this article, but I have to hope that education will eventually lead to protection and respect for the wild life in this place I love.
One more thing for this week, a piece of art I created called “Sacred Tools” was accepted for an important art show. A small joy in a week of emotional challenges that come from living in a much too popular tourist destination. I’m writing this towards the end of July and I’m counting the days to Labor Day when most of the tourists will go home and kids of all ages go back to school. In the middle of summer, I’m longing for a San Diego winter.
2014 ART JOURNAL – 1ST WEEK OF JULY