Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Perpetual Summer Continues Coastside!

Cloud Formation Pillar Point Harbor
In the debate over climate change there are many examples of impacts on glaciers, sea ice, the North and South Pole, mega storms and uncountable other subtle permutations  constantly bombarding the planet. Presently most people are not affected very much as most of this change is subtle and people experiences are not direct but rather thru the media and hearsay and the never ending spin of scientific data!

I’ve lived on the coast, El Granada and Moss Beach for 16 years and pretty well know the weather patterns over those 16 years. Having also lived many years in San Francisco and the Peninsula, I’m familiar with the micro climate aspects of the Bay Area where it’s not unusual to have a 30-40 degree F temperature spread over a 20 mile stretch!  I was born and lived many years in the Washington DC area. Although Washington’s winters are fairly mild, it’s not unusual to get occasional severe winter snow storms.  So in contrast the SF climate is generally mild and sometimes I would describe it as anemic!

Big weather news in the Bay Area is a 10 degrees change in the temperature, 10 degrees up, the headlines scream heat wave, 10 degrees down and we are in a brutal cold snap! Any rain will be headline news and occasionally the area gets a significant rain and wind storm. Living in the bay area you can pretty much be guaranteed 6 months of cloudless dry contiguous weather. Still the mere forecast of rain or appearance of clouds sends many residents scurrying for the comfort of their TV rooms for the duration!  

To me being from an area that has 4 distinct seasons I see the Bay Area as having two seasons separated by a little rain and about 10 degree temperature difference. How do I adjust, well, I wear short sleeves in the summer and long sleeves in the winter!

Until this year, I’ve seen no significant variation in the weather pattern on the coast for 16 years. It’s consistency over that period has brought comfort to me as I thrive on being blanketed in coolness most of the time, that’s why I choose to live on the coast.

Cloud Formation Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

I have not run any temperature number analysis yet for this year; my observations are strictly that, my personal take on the weather this year based on my past experience. This year is different in several ways as I will explain, however I cannot at this time say this is a trend or just an aberration over time. I’m hoping for the later but I’m skeptical of that!

So let’s look at the observations and data over the last 2 years. Rainfall records have been kept for San Francisco for 164 years, so far this year as of November 11th SF has had annual rainfall of 3.95 inches. The low record is 5.57 set in 1976. Given the trend so far this rainy season, looks like this year has a chance to be the driest on record. That in its self is not that surprising as I was in the SF area during the drought years of the mid 1970’s. What’s very surprising to me and up-setting is the temperature/ fog distribution over the last several months.  It’s way out of bounds in relation to my 16 year observation period.

The last significant rainfall month in SF was December 2012 where 7.1 inches of rain was recorded. Since that time, we have had 3.95 inches of rain! I consider January 1st 2012 as the start point for a very dry and unusual pattern.

Looking at the summer of 2013 it was running fairly normal thru August. That is the temperature and fog patterns seemed normal for the period. 

Starting in September a significant change in normal fog/temperature and humidity pattern started to make its presence known.

I need to interject some additional information on the Bay Area climate and that involves the Indian Summer the Bay Area often experiences in September and October.  The summer fog pattern shifts in September reducing the amount of fog and thus warming some of the normally cool fog areas. This is more pronounced on the Peninsula and other areas than at the coast. Although the coast will experience less fog this time of year, the temperature tens to remain cool and humidity low.  If the coast does experience some warm weather, it’s generally short-lived, perhaps a few days.

So back to September, around the beginning, a mugginess appeared along with warmer temperatures and persisted throughout the month. Except for a period of 4 days of heavy fog, the month was mostly clear of fog, unusually hot and humid; much more so than past years. This pattern continued thru October, with most days clear and warm to hot, the humidity seemed to have returned to normal.

Shockingly November has continued with the dry warm weather. As I write this on 11/13, the weather forecast is clear for about the next 10 days.

In conclusion, all of what I just wrote about may mean nothing in the scheme of Climate Change, it could just be an errant year, and a sample size of 16 is not very great. However, if this is a trend, then it’s my first direct experience with Climate Change at my local level. Direct experience may be the catalyst to melt the apathy and start a positive push towards addressing Climate Change.  I will continue to monitor the conditions in my habitat and follow up this blog.   


Monday, October 21, 2013

Bird Blizzard Half Moon Bay California


Lots of bait fish, anchovies and sardines have been abundant around Half Moon Bay recently. On some days there are thousands of birds feeding in a frenzy, a sight to see and hear. The birds include the Brown Pelican, Elegant Terns, Western Gulls, Heerman's Gulls, California Gulls and further out Shearwaters, Surf Scoters, and Bottlenose Dolphins. This photo was taken on September 10th, 2013. This is such a contrast to last year, where a lack of food devastated the Pelican population especially the juveniles. I hope to never see that sad spectacle again!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blue-footed Visitors from the Galapagos

Blue-footed Booby, Cove Beach
Not since 1971 has a Blue-footed Booby been spotted in Northern California. For the last week or so, multiple reports of immature and sub-adult Blue-footed Boobies have been reported ranging up the CA coast. There are about twenty reports from San Diego, LA area, Mono Lake, Salton Sea and Pt Reyes. Today Monterey Bay coastline and San Francisco is hosting a few. Evidently this phenomenon has not been seen since 1971 (B. Sullivan fide), and may correlate with the local abundance of anchovies seen this season off the CA coastline.

After getting a report from Peninsula Birds about the Blue-footed Booby at Cove Beach, I went on down Wednesday 9/18 to Cove Beach about 1 pm. Sure enough on the west end near the surfer area was the juvenile booby sitting on the rocks where the corms and BRPE hang out. I was able to observe the bird for about ½ hour before it flew, see picture. The lighting was horrible but, hey it’s a BFBO, a good day for sure!
Blue-footed Booby Flight

Here is some more information on the California event from the Joe Morlan Blog:

Status in California
Until this year, there were 114 previously accepted records of Blue-footed Booby in California. The species was removed from the CBRC review list in 1974 because it was thought to be of regular occurrence. It was restored in 1986 when it became apparent it was no longer a regular or expected visitor to the state. Major invasions occurred in 1969 (32 birds) and 1972 (at least 45 birds), but over 40 years have passed since then. Now we are experiencing what appears to be the largest invasion ever with more than 18 birds together at Obsidian Butte (Salton Sea), more than 10 on Anacapa Island and up to 7 at Playa Del Rey. Birds have been seen as far north as Bodega Head in Sonoma County, and one was reportedly photographed at Mono Lake. .
There has been considerable speculation about the cause of this invasion. It seems likely to be related to food resources with sardine stocks being over-fished in the Gulf of California by purse seine fishing and reported declines in anchovy off the California Coast.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

In-Seine Squid

Last July I sailed out of Half Moon Bay on a pelagic birding trip. A few miles off the coast we encountered a squid shoal, a grouping of many thousand market or opalescent Squid (Doryteuthis Opalescens).
Mineo Bros Squid Boat unloading at Johnson's Pier,
Pillar Point Harbor, California.
This has been typically a real cash crop along the California coast but for the last 7 years squid activity around Half Moon Bay has been non-existent. Mike McHenry has been fishing the waters of Pillar Point Harbor for the last 30 years and is the only local squid boat captain. His boat the Meva M actually sank July 24th 1984 due to being overloaded with squid. It remained on the bottom for 1 month before being raised and restored.

Normally about 80% of California squid is harvested in Southern California mostly around the Channel Islands with the rest coming from Monterey. This year the squid returned in massive numbers again near Half Moon Bay and suddenly many squid boats from the west coast and Canada descended on the Pillar Point Harbor. Fish and Wildlife has set a yearly quota of about 118,000 tons which amounts to about $70,000,000! A typical squid boat can net about 80-150 tons of squid which can be worth up to $90,000. During a recent survey of the harbor I spied about 7 non-local boats. 

Container of Ice and Squid

I'm not an expert on fishing or squids but I'm very interested in local activities in and around the coastside. I often hang out at the harbor, something about a genuine working fishing village draws my interest.  If you hang around the harbor long enough something interesting and exciting will happen such as the squid bloom now, or a sinking or rescue at sea, world class surfing at Mavericks, and the constant arrivals and departures of exotic birds from around the world.

Purse Seine are large long nets that hang vertically in the water like a fence. A small skiff holds one end in place while a larger 'seiner' vessel encircles a school of fish or squid. A rope along the net bottom is then pulled "pursing" the net- closing of the seine bottom like a drawstring. A successful set may yield a harvest of about 40 tons. Much squid fishing is done at night. The boat locates the squid using sonar and powerful lights mounted on the boat draw the squid to the surface for netting.
Purse Seine Fisheries

Pillar Point Harbor is well equipped to handle large quantities of squid and has streamlined the process. At Johnson Pier Morningstar Fisheries uses a vacuum system to off load the boats. The squid are put in large containers filled with ice and loaded onto large tractor trailer trucks and hauled down to Southern California Seafood of Watsonville. 95% percent of the squid is exported and 70% goes to China.

It can be a very chaotic scene on the pier with several forklifts speeding around at break neck speed. I've seen angry forklift operators yelling warnings to tourist that inadvertently wander into the midst of the operation. I'm thinking why don't they cone off the pier during these times as most tourist on the pier don't have a clue as to what's going on.

Squid Loading at Pillar Point Harbor

Squid distribution is dependent on water temperature and there have been attempts to relate squid movement with El Nino. The last big El Nino event occurred in 1996-97 and this was a big squid year around Half Moon Bay. That year the winter rains doubled it's usual average with San Francisco getting about 40 inches of rain. According to NOAA this year and into early 2014 we are looking at ENSO neutral variability meaning no El Nino or La Nina are expected.
Lady J from Monterey Off-loading Squid
Johnson Pier

 Some similarities between 1997 and today from my personal observations are, more bait fish (from bird observations), more squid, and an unusual humid spell! It will be interesting to see what this winter brings weather wise, as we have just come off two years in a row with below normal rainfall.      

Friday, July 19, 2013

Why are we allowing our planet to be destroyed?

Photo by Chris Jordan

Climate Change Deniers try very hard to spin scientific data in such a way as to acquit mankind as being the cause of any negative impact on this planet. We can eliminate the scientific data and thus the spin by rearranging the terminology slightly demoting Climate Change to a sub-set of Global Destruction.  In a past blog post Global Destruction I outlined how the widespread destruction of our planet is readily visible to anyone who cares to look. I used a few examples, such as the 5 Ocean Gyres, Mountaintop Removal and Coral Reef destruction. The photo on the left is a graphic example of wildlife destruction directly attributable to our careless disrespect for this planet and it's inhabitants. Do we need some fancy scientific study to understand this? I think anybody even young children gets what's going on here! Chris Jordan did a photo essay titled  Midway: Message from the Gyre showing the results of Albatross ingesting plastic at Midway Atol. He is currently working on a film of this project and the trailer can be viewed at Midway Trailer.

Large corporations are taking engineering principles and resources to scales that would boggle the mind just a few years ago. Of major concern are the extents that energy companies are resorting to squeeze the last remaining petroleum reserves out of the bowels of our planet using extraction methods that threaten the very existence of some of the last pristine areas on the planet. There is no concern for depleting world resources at an exponential rate but rather the attitude is, we can keep making the same mistakes as always and just find faster and more extreme methods of sucking the dregs of the fossil fuel reserves. Rather than ask, what are we doing wrong, and how can we change and correct the course we are on? It’s just easier to “keep on keeping on” and patch it all up thru technology.  This ensures there is no disruption of the oil and the money that fattens the pockets of the greed barons and the puppet politicians that green light any and all absurdity. It seems that this kind of ignorance is not only born out of greed but also the religious doctrine that teaches the earth is just a temporary playground to be abused at will, and mankind will be rewarded with a new hallucination complete with pearly gates and unlimited voluptuous virgins with perpetually spread legs!

Who's Watching Earth?

Representative John Shimkus of Illinois insists we shouldn't concerned about the planet being destroyed because God promised Noah it wouldn't happen again after the great flood. He made this comment in March 2009 speaking before a House Energy Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.   Speaking of the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Ted Stevens, former senator from Alaska, held up a blank white sheet of paper equating that to ANWR and calls the refuge "an empty, ugly place". Perhaps it's time to require people seeking public office to pass some kind of IQ test and demonstrate some rudimentary understanding of science.

Geo Engineering:

Now a new battalion of John Henry Hammer Heads have joined the mad fray under the delusion that the planet can be saved (and a lot of money made) thru geo-engineering. Again, the attitude here is screw fixing what’s broke, were so smart, nothing is impossible to accomplish.  This would not be so worrying if these ego maniacs were just small fry bozos with no authority to act. However big money brokers are hatching hair brained schemes and convincing lots of folks of their sincere dedication to saving the planet. When considering the large energy companies, there is an illusion that they are somehow regulated by governments and held responsible for their actions. Careful analysis of the BP spill will totally debunk that notion. It seems more likely the US Government agencies such as the EPA are regulated by BP rather than the other way around.

So if the large energy companies operate more or less regulated by themselves, what about the rogue geo-engineers? Russ George an American businessman illegally dumped 100 tons of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean off of British Columbia in 2012. The result was the formation of a 10000 square kilometer artificial plankton bloom visible from satellite as high concentrations of chlorophyll. The intent termed ocean fertilization is for the plankton to absorb carbon dioxide and sink to the ocean bed. Hey people these are our oceans, how dare some reckless megalomaniac pull off dangerous experiments as if he alone owns the ocean. Is this just the beginning of eco terrorist geo-engineers joining forces with the already out of control and unregulated energy companies in a mad dash to speed the demise of the human race? It’s surmised that 98% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct. I’m sure mankind is the only species ever that has worked intentionally and unflinchingly to join that list!      

Is There Any Hope? 

Although I’m pessimistic about the human race rescuing itself considering the destructive behavior that has gone unchecked for years. The question is what can be done right now to quell the on-going damage and perhaps start to reverse this spiral to oblivion! In 1969 the United States successfully landed people on the Moon. This triumph culminated in an unprecedented National effort to do the impossible. It took a National commitment, a ton of money, the will of the people and many hard years of work to reach the goal. We need a new commitment, a new goal, not a National goal but a World Wide goal as we are in a World Wide crisis. We currently have 5 ocean gyres or garbage patches in our oceans, 2 in the pacific, 2 in the Atlantic and 1 in the Indian Ocean. The Patch is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge, and other man made debris. This is imposing a massive infection of the oceans and all supporting life.  These gyres are physical, they have size and depth, and content. They need to be gone! The gyres are but one large assault on our oceans and our planet. If we are to survive as a species the major environmental damages need to be addressed now. Let’s see what an effort to clean up the gyres might look like.

Gyre Removal Project:

No study to my knowledge has been done to address the clean-up of the garbage patches at this time. So I’ll taking a wild first swing at what such a project would look like considering all of the pre-project studies have not yet been done or even fanaticized about yet. My projection is based on my engineering experience and the belief that any dream that can be conceived, given enough resources and money can be created and brought into existence. Using engineering for good, not destruction, instead of trying to counter the destruction as some insane mindless flailing geo-engineering this approach say let’s fix what we broke and return it to its pristine original before man condition.

It’s important to set a date to accomplish this goal, let’s start by setting 10 years as the target time.
This needs to be a World Wide effort with as many countries as possible participating and sharing the weight of this endeavor. Every country should have an equivalent department like the US’s NASA and all these worldwide organizations would be organized into an efficient, effective, long term entity to clean the oceans, both of garbage and acidification!

More than likely the ocean clean-up project will be the most ambitious, costly, complicated and far reaching engineering endeavor ever accomplished by human-kind! I can envision the largest floating vacuum cleaning type vessels ever conceived sucking debris from the gyres, separating and isolating the plastic particulate to be recycled into green beneficial products. Then again it may look totally different but whatever is necessary to disappear the gyres needs to be fast-tracked now! It’s encouraging to see grocery store shoppers finally stripped of plastic bags and now outfitted with re-usable bags. It took the people of the state of California for example to ban plastic bags in places such as San Francisco, San Mateo County and San Jose. I wonder about the integrity of such corporation such as Safeway that waited for a law to ban plastic bags, rather than take the initiative themselves and had the bags banned years ago. At any rate it is the small steps such as these where we as a people can make green progress on an individual basis. To effectively clean-up the ocean we need to stop adding material to the garbage pile, so plastic bag bans are a step in the right direction!  A recent study just concluded after 22 years by Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) found prodigious amounts of plastic debris and other debris in the Monterey Canyon. Fifty percent of the garbage found consisted of plastic bags. I would bet most of them are from the large chain retail outlets found all over the world.

It's time we question our own apathy and put the brakes on corporations and individuals driven by insatiable greed on a collision course to earths destruction and the elimination of life on this planet.
Who owns this planet? Nobody owns earth, we are caretakers entrusted to protect our planet for future generations of all life forms.  


Monday, June 24, 2013

Beaches: Change is a Constant!

Beach 3-33 (FMR) Tide 0.5' Feb 2, 2012
I volunteer for FMSA (Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association) part of NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) in a program called Beach Watch (BW). I'm part of a team that surveys beaches in the Sanctuary area from Point Reyes to Ano Nuevo on a bi-monthly basis. My main beach is a series of 4 contiguous beaches that make up Fitzgerald Marine Reserve (FMR) in Moss Beach, California. Part of the duties of a BW volunteer is to count and identify all live bird species and marine mammals as well as any other animal found on the beach. Also all dead birds, marine mammals and other species are identified and documented. If there is an unusual find or observation the appropriate organizations are notified such as The California Academy of Sciences and the Marine Mammal Center (MMC). BW volunteers most importantly are on a vigilant look out for signs of oil from natural seeps as well as oil spills. This is critical in bringing action against the responsible parties.

Beach 3-33 (FMR) Tide 2.2' June 1, 2008

A common observation by BW volunteers is how their particular beach dramatically changes from month to month. Of course tide effects are an obvious force for change as beaches range from wide expanses at low tide to impassible sections during high tides. The deposition of sand is another factor that is constantly changing and sculpting the beaches. Other factors are rock slides, erosion and beach retreat. To illustrate this point I've chosen beach 3-33 in the FMR located about 1 mile south of The Moss Beach Distillery restaurant. The photo dated Feb 2, 2012 shows the south boundary of 3-33 looking north. The tide is fairly low and there are only small rocks present on this beach so traversing it is fairly easy. I should note that about 3/4 of a mile further north is Distillery Point. There are large boulders in this area and it is very difficult to maneuver thru this section. So to see 3-33 as above is a relief, knowing there is some easy going before the difficult Distillery Point area.
Beach 3-33, Tide 1.4' October 12, 2012

The photo dated June 1, 2008 shows the same beach after much sand has disappeared exposing many rocks and boulders. It's not an easy trek thru this kind of rock field as one has to be constantly aware of  ones footing. This makes the survey more difficult but it's not as bad as it can get. Adding algae to the mix makes this down right treacherous. Algae appears the time of year that sand is minimal July-October and the rocks and boulders are exposed.  Now  rocks are covered in slippery algae in some cases just coating the rocks and in others algae is several feet deep above the rocks.
Beach 3-33 Tide 2.2' Sept 14, 2011

As can be seen in the distance are some very high cliffs that are continuously retreating, which is a nice word for crumbling onto the beach. Often time in this area due to rocks, boulders, and the tide line, we are forced to traverse closer toward the cliff face. The cliffs are constantly sloughing and sometimes significant rock falls occur. Needless to say it's a hazardous area and we try not to dally there but pass by as quickly as possible. Did I mention this is a volunteer job?

Beach 3-33 Tide -1.3' May 17, 2010
Photo dated May 17, 2010 shows the beach at a low tide of -1.3 feet. Plenty of sand is apparent and off to the left is northern outer portions of Frenchman's Reef. To the right can be seen a recent rock-fall.

The final photo Feb 4, 2010 shows a very large recent slide that nearly blocked the whole beach. BW volunteers in the foreground are Jack Sutton and Melissa Dubose. Further in the back ground is BW volunteer Peter White.
Beach 3-33 Tide 0.8' Feb 4, 2010


Friday, May 17, 2013

Back Yard Bird Lists

Great-horned Owl
Like many birders, I’ve just started documenting a back yard bird list for my house in Moss Beach, California. I’m pleased to report after 2 years in this location I have 74 bird species so far. My good friend Pete of Martinez California also has 74 bird species for his location. We are in a friendly completion and are currently in a dead heat.

Back yard bird counts usually involve counts made from a specific point, residence, gallery, or business. One such location is the resident quarters at the Farallones Islands which as of 2010 has a bird species count of 360. This is believed to be the most prolific in the United States. Paul Leham of New Jersey claims 300 + at his residence. The Farallones Islands have been criticized because the count is compiled by many individuals keeping records over a long time frame. However Peter Pyle a biologist who spent significant time at the Farallones claims 324 species documented by him alone on his visits to the Farallones.

#74 Hooded Oriole 5/3/13
# 73 Western Tanager 5/2/13
So my 74 species count is pretty modest in relationship to other bird spots, but it’s always fun to add a new bird to the list. Most of the birds on my list are common birds found in this area, Brewer’s Black Birds, House finches and sparrows, Scrub Jays, Dark-eyed Juncos, Mourning Doves, California Quail and Ravens. Some of the slightly unusual birds have been an Osprey, Kestrel, Killdeer and my favorite occasional visitor, Great-horned Owl. Some of the recent additions have been Cedar Waxwings, a Hooded Oriole and a beautiful Western Tanager.


Friday, April 5, 2013

North Point Beach

Seal haul-out North Point Beach
North Point Beach is located in San Mateo County and is the north border of the Año Nuevo  State Park. This beach is not open to the public because the north end of the beach is occupied by many Northern Elephant Seals. The access to this beach is via highway 1 onto an about 3/4 mile dirt road. The road leads to a small compound including a house that was until recently occupied by a ranger. The ranger retired and now the property sits with no occupants.

In the picture to the left a number of female Northern Elephant seals are basking on the beach with  Año Nuevo Island and it's structures in the back-ground.
Año Nuevo State Park,in San Mateo County, preserves and protects the scenic, biological, ecological, and cultural values of the central California coastline, including Año Nuevo Island and properties on the western slope of the coast range inland from Año Nuevo Point. The park protects and interprets the pinniped rookeries, a prime resource, and significant wildlife habitats on Año Nuevo Island and the mainland. It also contains sensitive native dunes and coastal terrace prairie habitats, and a diversity of inland plant communities, including old growth forest, freshwater marsh, red alder riparian forest and knobcone pine forest. Its four perennial streams support steelhead trout and coho salmon, and its wetlands are habitat to the rare San Francisco garter snake and red-legged frog. Cultural resources include the remnants of Native California Indian Ohlone occupation of the area and a number of structures from the nineteenth century Cascade Ranch and historic Steele Ranch. In conjunction with adjacent and nearby public lands, the unit protects important regional ecological corridors and linkages.

North Point from northern boundary looking south to Ano Nuevo Island
Ranger House North Point

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Boats Stuck on Land

The Jade Canoe
Grounded Boat Ocean Beach

On Monday August 4th the 37 foot fishing boat Paloma ran aground at Ocean Beach just south of Seal Rock in San Francisco, California. The Captain Timothy Lybrand apparently safely swam ashore but cannot be located. It appears Mr Lybrand has a $75,000 warrant out on him.

Ocean Beach  8/4/14 Paloma

Wrecked Boat Francis Beach

On Wednesday 3/13/13 a fisherman beached a boat off of Francis Beach in Half Moon Bay. When I checked it on Saturday it was severly smashed apart. The captain had recently purchased this boat at a lein sale in Pillar Point Harbor. He anchored off of Francis Beach to do some repair. He was arrested by police and later released.

Francis Beach 3/15/13
Here is  collection of boats stuck on land, mostly old and in bad shape. Many were photographed at Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay, California. During winter month storms, some boats start to sink in the harbor. Others are abandoned. Rather than allow them to sink in the docks, they are towed to the beach area so that they can be easily accessed from land. Very few are saved, most are broken apart piece by piece and hauled away.
The Darling Aground
Rigging The Pull
Pacifica Drama (3/4/13)

Living on the coast you can expect drama on a regular basis, most involving fools and boats.  The 80 foot 2.8 million dollar sail boat Darling pictured here was stolen from Salsalito by 3 pirate wannabes!  They ran the yacht aground in Pacifica a short time later. This of course made the news and the Coast Guard set up a rescue unaware the vessel had been stolen. The owner of the Darling caught the news and recognized his boat, and called police. The police with guns drawn persuaded the trio to surrender and promptly put them in the local hoosegow. Inside the boat was littered with beer cans and pizza boxes.

A landing craft type salvage boat was sent in at high tide in an attempt to pull the boat free. After much tugging the tow line snapped and as of about 5pm the Darling is still grounded!

Failed Attempt
3/5/13 Up-date:  The Darling was finally freed by a tug boat about 3 am and towed to Richmond California for repairs.

3/7/13 Update: Two of the 3 people arrested for this heist were released today. A couple in their mid 50's told police that the 3rd paerty told them it was his boat, they had no idea it was stolen...............humm!

Shallow Water 10 FT Keel

Fjord Queen II Aground

The Fjord Queen II ran aground on Saturday  night October 13th 2012 at Ross's Cove, just around the corner from the Mavericks surf break near Pillar Point Harbor.  The captain was sailing the vessel alone and swam safely to shore. The boat was carrying a large haul of Albacore Tuna. Unfortunately this is not an uncommon occurrence along the treacherous waters of central California!

Fjord Queen II 10/13/12
5 Abandoned Boats Pillar Point Harbor

1/25/2011 This day 5 boats were abandoned at Pillar Point Harbor, California. A catamaran (Quickstep) 3 sailboats (2 unnamed, another named Fruedian Slip), plus an old Cabin Crusier type. Three days later all were broken up and hauled away except the cruiser.

Five Abandoned Boats 1/25/11
Phyllis J Beached 

Phyllis J. A crab fishing boat flipped on its side in the surf at Francis State Beach Half Moon Bay California early Tuesday morning, January 5th 2011, sending three crew members scrambling to the beach. All three men were reportedly uninjured. It seems that after many hours on the ocean, the crew fell asleep and thus ran aground. This boat was salvaged at least partly as it sits in dry dock in Princeton to this day over 2 years after the mishap!

Phyllis J 1/5/11
Tsunami Santa Cruz

On March 11th 2011 a Tsunami from Japan's 9.0 Earthquake arrive on the West Coast of the United States. Because of Santa Cruz's harbor geometry, 100 vessels were damaged and 18 were sunk. This photo taken on March 14th shows one of the recovered boats.

Tsunami Aftermath Santa Cruz, California

More Beached Boats Pillar Point Harbor

December 2009: The Josie C fishing vessel and an unknown sailboat.

July 2009: The Gamecock Fishing boat.

September 2006: Two fishing boats, Red Boy and unknown.

2006: Fishing Boat Sailboat Pillar Point Harbor

2003: Four boats are beached at Pillar Point Harbor,California,  the Veda M, the Bear, a sailboat just next to the Bear and unnamed boat.

Josie C Fishing Boat and Sail Boat 12/2009

Queen Charlott Islands, Canada
October 2007

Gamecock July 2009

Two fishing boats, Red Boy and unknown. September 2006

Fishing Boat Sailboat 2006
Pillar Point Harbor

Four Beached Boats  April 2003

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pacifica Drama

The Darling Aground
Rigging The Pull
Living on the coast you can expect drama on a regular basis, most involving fools and boats.  The 80 foot 2.8 million dollar sail boat Darling pictured here was stolen from Salsalito by 3 pirate wannabes!  They ran the yacht aground in Pacifica a short time later. This of course made the news and the Coast Guard set up a rescue unaware the vessel had been stolen. The owner of the Darling caught the news and recognized his boat, and called police. The police with guns drawn persuaded the trio to surrender and promptly put them in the local hoosegow. Inside the boat was littered with beer cans and pizza boxes.

A landing craft type salvage boat was sent in at high tide in an attempt to pull the boat free. After much tugging the tow line snapped and as of about 5pm the Darling is still grounded!

Failed Attempt
3/5/13 Up-date:  The Darling was finally freed by a tug boat about 3 am and towed to Richmond California for repairs.

3/7/13 Update: Two of the 3 people arrested for this heist were released today. A couple in their mid 50's told police that the 3rd paerty told them it was his boat, they had no idea it was stolen...............humm!

Shallow Water 10 FT Keel

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Army of out of Control John Henry's

John Henry
We are at a transition point where fossil fuel energy has to give way to green forms of energy such as solar, wind and hydrogen. If mankind were smart and not greedy, this could be a significant period of conservation and energy planning for the future. We need to squeeze the efficiency levels of hybrid, electrical and internal combustion to the maximum as a bridge to the future technologies.  However this is not happening and does not appear to be on any near future agendas.  Rather than face the reality of a finite resource life, energy companies are hell bent on using them up as if they will be perpetually replenished. They are in denial of an end game for fossil fuels and they are supported by the politicians they buy off. They are an army of out of control John Henrys hammering this planet to destruction.

Having worked in the engineering field it is clear to me that given enough money and resources just about anything can be conceived and constructed.  Yes, we can drill miles under our oceans but should we?  We can push high pressure fluids deep into the ground over vast regions; are we that desperate?

What’s up with blowing the tops off of mountains, are we insane? There is no respect for the environment, the animal and plant life that occupy it, the people who live here now or the future generations.  Is it just greed or some form of personality disorder or religious indoctrination?

I wrote an article in a previous blog post titled Climate Change is a Sub-set of Global Destruction.

I noticed both side of the Climate Change debate try to spin scientific data in such a way as to favor their point. Liars always figure, figures never lie best seem to sum up this tactic. My point is the scientific data does not even need to be examined. The planetary destruction that is unfolding before our very eyes is graphic evidence that we are f***ing up this planet big time.  There are 5 garbage pits or ocean gyres the size of states choking our oceans.    Mountain Top Removal Mining has destroyed 500 Appalachian Mountains, decimated 1 million acres of forest and has buried 2000 miles of streams. You don’t need scientific data, just look! The list goes on.

I would like to point out 1 mathematical phenomenon that seems to be over looked or ignored in the Climate Change debate. I’m talking about exponential equations that describe what happens to a physical system once it goes non-linear.  I hear the temperature of the earth has risen 0.8 degrees Celsius over a period of time and that if it increases at the same rate it will be 2.0 degrees Celsius higher in a certain future year. This is a linear projection but not necessarily a good model for such a complex chemical and thermal system as the atmosphere. Examples of exponential growth are found in nuclear chain reactions and bacterial growth. I don’t believe if we continue to damage the planet as we are doing today that temperature will stay linear or atmospheric chemistry will stay linear. We will reach a tipping point and be hurled towards infinity and out of existence.

So here we are in front row seats watching an army of out of control John Henry’s sledge our children’s future into oblivion.
John Henry's captain said to him:
"I believe these mountains are caving in. John Henry said to his captain: "Oh, Lord!"
"That's just my hammer sucking wind."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Rounding up Leopard Sharks

I was at Pillar Point Harbor today when a group of about 12 people showed up carrying some strange equipment including a small row boat and a very long specialized looking net. Since the bird activity was quiet I decided to watch this group and see what was up. They rowed the boat out into the harbor and about 6 or so people walked and swam in the water and guided the net in a semi-circle and started pulling it toward shore.

Leopard Shark and Researcher
Finally when it was all the way in, low and behold it contained 5 Leopard Sharks from about 1 foot to 3 feet long. They quickly measured them and did other test including sexing them and then released them. I did not talk to anyone as they seemed occupied in their tasks. When I got home, I noticed RTC Marine Ops on the back of one of the vests. Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies. Marine Operations supports San Francisco State University students, faculty, and staff in conducting marine research by providing research vessels, oceanographic sampling equipment, operator training and field logistics support.

Now I wished I had talked to them.
I’m amazed at what lies just below the surface invisible to most people. I’ve been out there for years and never saw a shark. Occasionally  I’ve seen a Bat Ray.
Side note: While attempting this post it's abundantly clear the Blogger interface is horrible.

RTC Researchers

Leopard Sharks Netted
Leopard Shark