Category: Environment

The Elephant Seals of Año Nuevo

The year was 1987 and I was searching for a place where black abalone were largely undisturbed so I could complete my dissertation. The island was the perfect location: isolated, difficult to access, federally protected, and surrounded by seal- and shark- infested waters. During my first low tide on the island I was ecstatic: blacks were common and it was the perfect place to conduct a study but there were elephant seals everywhere.

Shore Whaling at Trinidad, California in the 1920s

Standing there today you can imagine it. Just walk outside the Seascape Restaurant near Trinidad Pier and you are on hallowed ground. Ground consecrated by the blood and guts of thousands of magnificent whales and a few brave whalemen. Here, for six years in the 1920s, whales were brought ashore and butchered by men for their oil, their baleen, for their very bones. And lest we judge these men for their actions, back then it was no different then catching fish. Of bringing a commodity to market; a way of making a living; albeit a hard one with many risks.

Return of The Birds

He looked out to sea and watched the crested breakers, combing green. They rose stiffly, curled, and broke again; and because it was ebb tide, the roar was distant, more remote, lacking the sound and thunder of the flood. Then he saw them. The gulls. Out there, riding the seas. What he had thought at…

Surfing on Mars

The swell rises slowly from the depths as it begins to feel the jagged, rocky seafloor. You notice a darkening in the distance against the red horizon as the wave jacks quickly up to 10, 20, then 30 feet. As you scratch outside the wave begins its slow cruise towards you, giving you plenty of time to turn…

The Search for Monster Great White Sharks

You’re gonna need a bigger boat. — Chief Martin Brody (Jaws) First of all let’s get something straight: Great white sharks are not the biggest shark in the ocean. That distinction belongs to whale sharks (40+ feet) and basking sharks (30+ feet). However, since these are gentle plankton-munching giants most people don’t focus on their huge size.…