Tag: California

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.

Cortes Bank: the Largest Wave on the Planet

…Dawn’s early light revealed a shimmering plume of spray. A Himalayan peak rose to life far off the bow. It was shaped like a great, volcanic cone– 43 million pounds of water, terrible and unrideable. Its foam exploding an unknowable number of feet into the air and churned the surrounding water into a 360-degree maelstrom…

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.

Dr. Abalone’s Field Guide to the Six Species of Surfers

After traveling the world these last four decades searching for interesting creatures and critters, I, Dr Abalone, have discovered a consistent pattern among the creatures that inhabit the waves and beaches of the known planet called surfers. Based on my observations, which are herein described, I propose the identification of six species of surfers, each with distinct behavioral…

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.…