Tag Archives: marine

Snorkeling at Fisherman’s Cove in Lagune Beach, CA – where, what, how, & when

This morning I went snorkeling at Fisherman’s Cove in Laguna Beach for the third time. I like this spot a lot and so I want share it with my readers. I’ll include a description, photos, maps, marine life, and links to other dive sites.

The cove is right off PCH in Laguna Beach, turn onto Cliff Drive and immediately look for street parking. Most of the time I find a spot, but, if not, metered parking is available if you take the first left and go about 200 feet. That is also where the entrance to the Cove is.

Suit up, grab your gear, and head towards the entrance. Go down the steps and take the concrete path all the way to the sand. There you will find a nice secluded beachfront with a lifeguard tower, a few beachgoers, SUP’ers, and a nice rocky landscape for you to explore.

On the left, is a sheer rock face that you can launch in front of on small days. Keep a good distance away from the bluff and follow it out to sea. It’s pretty shallow and you can see tons of fish, mollusks, anemones, and more.

In the middle, a bit offshore, is a rock cluster that is great to swim around. You can see it from the shore with waves crashing against it. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to swim around and even dive into. Plus, it’s a great middle-point as you snorkel around the perimeter.

On the right, are a series or rocky outcroppings, like little peninsulas, that continue to jut out farther and farther as you swim out. These are ideal for snorkeling because an abundance of marine life hides in all of those mini-coves. Follow the outcroppings all the way around to the next cove, which is my favorite route, or you can head over to the middle rock cluster mentioned above.

It is usually best to go when the waves are small and the sunlight is good. This often changes but I’ve gone out at 9am, 12pm, and 3pm and had a blast. It all depends on the conditions. You can scope it out before you go using Surfline for wave size, wind speed, and water temperature. Rockpile as the nearest spot.

The amount of wildlife is amazing. I’ve seen nearly everything you can in Southern California waters from the famous Garibaldi to a huge stingray, octopus, and colorful snails. For list of species you will find check out Cabrillo Aquarium’s marine life profiles.

Here are a few other sites with good coverage of Fisherman’s Cove:

 

Maps/Photos:

Here is a link to the site in Google Maps, and below are screenshots of the site. There is no official address for the place but you can put this one into your phone, for the neighboring Heisler Park:

  • 375 Cliff Drive - Laguna Beach, California 92651

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Exploring the mountains under the ocean, in photos.

A seamount is a mountain rising from the ocean seafloor that does not reach to the water’s surface (sea level), and thus is not an island. – Wikipedia

 

They are also centers of marine life, as you can see in the photos below. From the article, Mountains in the Sea, by National Geographic.

Hundreds of thousands of seamounts rise from Earth’s ocean floor. Life has been explored on barely 300.

 

They are gushing with life. (photo: Brian Skerry)

 

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White abalone going extinct under current program

Scientists from the federal fisheries lab in La Jolla have reported a serious decline of white abalone along the San Diego coastline, confirming some of the worst fears about the species as it slides toward extinction.

“In the absence of fishing, we hoped to see the population stabilize or increase,” said Kevin Stierhoff, a biologist at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, and lead author of a new article in the journal Biological Conservation. “However, our latest assessment using data collected in 2008 and 2010 indicates that the white abalone population has continued to decline by approximately 78 percent over the last ten years.”

In 2001, white abalone became the first marine invertebrate listed under the Endangered Species Act. The mollusk was once abundant off the coasts of Baja and Southern California, thriving in waters 15 to 200 feet deep.

“The continuing decline 30 years after the last major commercial harvest demonstrates that the strategy of benign neglect, or allowing the population to recover without intervention, has clearly failed,” the research study said.

 

Keep reading: U-T San Diego - White abalone slide toward extinction

 

 

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Wooden surfboards are on the rise – interview with Spirare Surfboards: Kevin Cunningham

Just a few questions from the Liquid Salt interview:

 

Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background?
I was born in Baltimore and spent summers growing up in Ocean City Maryland. I moved to Rhode Island to attend the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000. I started shaping boards while I was still a student in 2002 and was hooked on the experience of shaping and riding my own boards. I kept shaping more and more boards for myself and eventually friends were asking for them too. I was turned off by the negative environmental aspects of the polyurethane foam and resin though. I began to look for more sustainable means to shape boards while maintaining a high performance standard, and being an artist the aesthetics of the boards is important to me too.

What’s next for Kevin Cunningham and Spirare?
I’ve been working with reclaimed found marine debris lately. I am currently using fishing nets and lines that wash up on the beach to make fins and accessories. It’s amazing how much trash you can find on the beach when you start to look for it. I hope to develop more uses for this material in the coming months too. Other than that I’m going to keep shaping as many boards as I can and push the performance of my shapes as far as possible.

 

Keep reading: Liquid Salt - Spirare: Kevin Cunningham

 

You had me at Baltimore…and the wealth of ocean trash. So far I’ve found a kayak paddle, three leashes, wetsuit, several sand-toy sets, and a nail file – Ocean Recycling!

 

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Maps of Southern California’s – Marine Protected Areas

A map of all the Southern California MPA’s (marine protected areas), defined as:

A space in the ocean where human activities are more strictly regulated than the surrounding waters – similar to parks we have on land.

They are supposed to form a network of safe areas for marine life ro repopulate and bring back big populations to our oceans. You can see that they aren’t that large, nor extensive, but serve as a good starting point.

 

 

Here are maps for each of the regions: San Diego, Los Angeles (Santa Monica Bay), Orange County, Santa Barbara, Catalina Island.

**Full-size graphics are available at Cal Oceans – Maps

 

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SeaWorld Rescue returns 2 more seals to the wild – that’s 88 this year!

A pair of male fur seals rescued and nursed back to health by SeaWorld San Diego’s animal care team was returned to the ocean. Both animals were rescued in May emaciated, malnourished and dehydrated. The first of these mammals, a Guadalupe fur seal, was rescued off Imperial Beach weighing almost 15.5 pounds May 13, 2012. The other, a hybrid (mixed breed species), was rescued May 29 with a swollen rear flipper and weighing 16.5 pounds. SeaWorld veterinarians were able to treat the bulging flipper with antibiotics.

 

 

The estimated 1- and 2-year-old juveniles returned to the sea weighing 42 and 23 pounds respectively. SeaWorld animal care specialists and veterinarians treated the animals with hydration fluids and a nutrient-rich diet of capelin, sardines and herring. The seals are now healthy and able to forage for food on their own.

Research scientists from Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute outfitted each seal with a satellite transmitter. Scientists hope to track the animals’ movements at sea to learn more about where the species travels in the ocean along with perhaps why. The transmitters will likely dislodge from the fur seals when they molt in about two months. An adult male fur seal can grow to 6 feet and weigh up to 350 pounds, while females reach 4.5 feet and weigh up to 100 pounds.

 

ViaInside SeaWorld

 

“So far this year, SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Program has saved 88 marine mammals.” - Eight Sea Lions Returned to the Wild

Profiles of Southern California marine species – Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Here is a great resource for learning what is hanging out in the coastal waters of Southern California.

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium – Southern California Species

The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is home to more than 200 species of animals that live in and around the waters of Southern California.

With its spectacular natural setting adjacent to Cabrillo Beach Coastal Park and the Port of Los Angeles, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is uniquely suited to its leadership role in marine science education, aquaculture research and community recreation.  The historic Frank Gehry-designed aquarium displays the largest collection of Southern California marine life in the world.

Species

Sand Dollar – You can’t spend these dollars, they are relatives to sea stars.

 

Garibaldi – the California State marine fish and may live as long as 12 years.

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How do octopuses navigate?

One researcher, Jennifer A. Mather, wondered: how do octopuses navigate? Do they rely on chemotactile sensory information (i.e. movement based on chemicals in the environment), or do they orient towards visual landmarks?

Octopuses occupy “homes” for several days or in some instances for several weeks, and when they go out looking for food, they are sometimes gone for several hours at a time. Therefore, they must use some sort of memory to find their way back home.

Many molluscs use trail-following, and follow their own mucus trails, or the trails of others. You might expect that octopuses use trail-following as well, since they forage by using chemotactile exploration – at least four different types of receptors on their suckers gather chemical and tactile information as they move along the rocky seafloor.

However, many other species use visual scene recognition to aid in navigation: ants, bees, gerbils, hamsters, pigeons, and even humans, use visual landmarks to navigate around their environments. Since octopuses use visual information to distinguish among different objects, they could use visual landmarks to get home as well.

To find out the researchers performed a series of experiments, testing chemicals, memory, and navigation. See what they learned - Scientific American.

 

** The article is kinda long so you can just read the last paragraph for the summary :)

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California creates a science-based series of underwater parks

You normally think of parks as being places to walk or ride around.  But on January 1, 2012, Southern California celebrated the grand opening of a series of underwater parks, or “marine protected areas,” that includes wildlife hot spots such as the La Jolla kelp forest, Laguna tidepools, and Catalina Island coral gardens. These parks will join a growing system that currently dots the shore from Santa Barbara to Mendocino, and will soon stretch the length of California’s coast.

California will be the first state in the nation to develop a science-based statewide network of marine protected areas, protecting productive reefs, kelp forests and tide pools while leaving about 90% of state waters open to fishing. The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), enacted in 1999 with bipartisan support, called for this network of protections to improve the health of California’s ocean wildlife and habitats.

“After decades of treating the ocean as inexhaustible, California has turned the tide towards restoring its legacy of abundant sea life,” said Kaitilin Gaffney, Pacific Program Director of Ocean Conservancy. “California’s new protected areas are a smart investment in a healthier ocean and a more sustainable coastal economy.”

Coastal tourism and recreation are a major economic engine for California. A recent study showed over 90 percent of coastal recreation in southern California involves beach-going, diving, wildlife watching, surfing and other activities that will benefit from healthier oceans.  According to the National Ocean Economics Program, California’s coast and ocean generate $22 billion in revenue and drive over 350,000 jobs each year.

via Designing Healthy Communities

 

The Story of California’s MLPA’s

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Marine Corps ordered to open certain ground combat billets to women

The Marine Corps wants “a few good men” and some women too:

Commandant Gen. James Amos this week ordered that certain jobs previously meant for men now be opened to women as well. In some cases, the change is meant as a test to help Amos make recommendations about a possible permanent shift.

Amos’ order comes as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has ordered all the services to no longer restrict women from certain jobs because those jobs are “co-located” with ground combat units. Women will continue to be prohibited from direct involvement in combat units and special operations units.

Panetta has called for all the services to report to him in six months about their efforts to pursue “gender-neutral physical standards”; how the experiment of assigning women to certain billets is working; and when more positions can be opened for women.

Among all the services, Panetta’s initiative is meant to open 14,325 job titles to women.

The Marine Corps, with its primary mission being direct ground combat, has 7% women in its ranks, the lowest of any service. The Army has 14%, Navy 16%, Air Force 19%, and Coast Guard 16%.

via LA Times

 

// Photo – DVIDSHUB