Christmas, beach-style

Today was a beautiful day. My son, Don, his girlfriend Ani and I were blessed with a rather sinful meal at the Moss Beach Distillery — as in the highest fat combos one could order (it’s Christmas!) — got to experience the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve tide pools, the Pillar Point Beach in Half Moon Bay (where Mavericks surfing competitions take place), and finally, I introduced Don and Ani to my new home where my oodles of beach plastics and odd beach debris resides.


Don and Ani checking out the tide pools at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.

I visited the Pillar Point tide pools about a month ago with my oceanography lab class and could see the Pillar Point beach off from a distance, so this time I made it to the beach and now have another beach on the “cleanup” list. I just need to align my future cleanups with the Mavericks surfing competitions, so I get to experience that at the same time. Evidently, this region produces such large waves that surfers visit this area from all over the world to compete in worldwide surfing competitions.

Chiton die-off


Gumboot Chiton from the Mollusca Phylum next to my boot.

Approximately 50-60 Gumboot chitons washed up on Pillar Point Beach and are documented here. I am not sure what the cause of the die-off is. Considering there has been a die-off of Common Murre seabirds and jellyfishes related to the warming waters of El Nino, I’m thinking it could be the cause as well. If not, it could be an algal bloom, also known as a “red tide”.

Garbage went in my camera bag

At first glance, I thought Pillar Point Beach looked clean but after some strolling, I was disappointed to see that it was not at all the case. I found a tennis shoe, large gas can, single-use plastic bottles, a lot of micro-plastics, cigarette lighters and two buoys – most of which was pushed up at the base of the cliff from a high tide. When I put beach plastics in my camera bag on a day off from doing beach cleanups (as it’s Christmas day), I know that it has gone into obsession territory. But at least it was toward the end of the visit and not at the get-go!

Even though I was not in photography mode, I did manage to shoot some photos and I thought I’d share. It’s a day to remember. Nothing makes me more happy than to spend Christmas day with my son, Don and his girlfriend Ani! Much gratitude. And, I’m probably returning to Pillar Point tomorrow with my garbage bag!



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