Red by Day; Blue by Night

29 09 2011

Sounds like some new breed of shape-shifting politician.  But that is not the subject here.

Red Tide by Day -- Source:

Have you noticed all the red tide that showed up about a month ago?  It’s all those pesky little dinoflagellates that hang out in the surf zone and sometimes a little further out.  We won’t be going into a microbiology lesson in this post.  We are really here to marvel at what happens at night.

The San Diego Union-Tribune published some photos that show what happens.  At night,  the protists all turn left in unison and explode in a bioluminescent cloud of blue light.  Check out this photo from Torrey Pines the other night.

Blue by Night -- Source:

For more dazzling pic’s, here is the link to the Union-Tribune article.

Just enough light to open up night surfing to the masses.  We may need to start up Trestles Surf Crowd at Night.

I just realized this may be just what we need in Sacramento and DC.  The dinoflagellates can show our stuck-in-reverse ideologues how to change colors from time to time to get some real work done.

Ho Hum Yawn — Kelly Won It

26 09 2011

A little slow to report this, but Kelly Slater won the Hurley Pro at Lowers — again.

It wasn’t a great week for waves, but there was enough; I guess.   The Hurley Video of the Final Day shows it all.  All our favorite competitors were doing their usual “tricks,” but it’s too bad they didn’t have a little more face to work with.

The contest was scheduled for September 18 – 24, but they got done early, on the 21st (Wednesday).  No reason to take a bye waiting for more waves — there was nothing on the horizon.

Maybe next year.

Trestles Forecast — September 18 to 24, 2011

15 09 2011

It’s gotta be good next week.  That’s it. . . . . . .

How do I know?  Because the Hurley Pro is coming to town.

Our view from the beach.

It seems like whenever we are just getting into the Fall wave groove, the Hurley (formerly Boost Mobile) Pro grandstands and tents show up on the beach and we are all shooed out of the water.  And, it seems like some of the best waves of the season show up about the same time.  The Pro has a knack for picking the right dates.

So, next week hang up your wetsuit, bag up your board and put it on the garage rack, and come on down to the circus.  It’s always fun for some photos, freebies, and lots of “interesting” people.

If you really want to surf, get out there early to avoid the crowds and the heat horns.

Go Kelly — 11 is  a nice prime number.


COMM 435 — Opinion Writing

15 09 2011

It’s that time again — Fall Opinion Writing at Cal State Fullerton with Professor Steve Scauzillo.

It’s all about finding your voice.  For those of you in COMM 435 this semester, find what you love and start writing.  The more you post, the more hits you’ll get.  It’s easy when it’s what you love.

It doesn’t hurt to shamelessly use key words that are novel or are in the news.

I started the Blob Fish Page because I was getting almost 1,000 hits a day for the blob fish photo I posted one day.  Check it out.

After the tsunami, I wrote a couple posts about how it impacted Orange County.  That one caught a lot of attention too.

Have fun, but start writing and writing some more.

Another Voice

Bye Bye Trestles — Right on Track for Removal

13 09 2011

September 1, the end of the nesting season, has come and gone.  So, the forces have moved in to get ‘er done.

A Different "Lineup" for Trestles

According to one of the onsite construction officials, the contractor that is rebuilding the trestles is right on schedule.  They hope to have all the work done and be off the site by the end of 2011.  They did a lot of the foundation work earlier this year, before nesting season.

In order to complete their work on time, they are actually going to completely shut down the railroad, the only direct rail link between Los Angeles and San Diego, for at least three full weekends.  That in itself should be interesting.  Sorry Johnny, you won’t be able to tell time by the train whistles going through San Clemente during those times.

Sharing the Footpath--Contractors and Surfers

I was assured by the official that it is written into the contract that access to the beach has to be maintained at all times.  That means surfers rated higher than the railroad–that’s a first.  I have to admit, I haven’t heard of any problems to the contrary.

So, when they get done, the trestles will be solid concrete.  Get your nostalgic photos while you can.

The piers are being poured over the next few weeks, getting the column caps ready for the shutdowns.  When they shut down the rail, the wooden sections will be removed, concrete beams will be laid across and underneath the tracks.  Once formed, these saddle shaped supports are called bents in bridge parlance.  The new rails will be laid over multiple bents.

Column rebar cages coated with purple epoxy to protect the steel from the salty environment

I already asked how to get a piece of the old creosote-soaked wooden members from the original trestles.  The official said they have to handle the wood as hazardous material and have to account for every ounce removed.  So, officially, there is no way to get your own piece of the trestles.   Hmmmmmmm.

So, enjoy your last days crossing under the famous structure that gave our favorite break its name as we cross the bridge to the future.

I guess the good news out of this change is that, with the higher traffic capacity that will be allowed with the improved trestles, there will be more tourists to wave at as the trains fly by.  Just make sure you use your whole hand when you wave to them.  🙂

Okay, Back to the Crackling Sound

8 09 2011

Last week, during our little high-energy swell that drove just about everyone to the bottom at least 10 times per session, there was this bizarre underwater crackling sound that would crescendo for about 4 or 5 seconds with each passing set wave.  Very unusual, at least to me.

After doing some searching, often getting my own notations in my search results, I have picked and chosen some pieces that just might explain it.  I’m open to constructive criticism and correction on this.

Some sites talk about flora and fauna in the tropics, and even Garibaldi in California, that make “crackling” or maybe “cracking” or popping sounds for various dietary or sexual reasons.  Nope–not likely.  Unless, somehow large waves stimulate diet or sexual cravings in small crustaceans or bright orange fish.

So, here’s another theory that takes me back to my graduate hydraulic theory courses.  It sounds like “cavitation.”  You know that popping or “crackling” sound you hear when water is going through a slightly opened valve at way too high of a velocity.  Okay, maybe it’s just something us water nerds have experienced.  But, it also happens when boat props are moving at high speeds.

Without trying to explain Bernoulli’s Equation in a surf blog post, it goes something like this.  The water is moving so fast that the internal pressure of the water momentarily drops below atmospheric pressure, otherwise known as drawing a vacuum.  When that happens, any gas molecules dissolved in the water come out of suspension and form bubbles.  But that state is short lived.  As soon as the water moves away from the area where it was moving fast and the internal pressure of the water reaches atmospheric pressure again, the bubbles “implode” and disappear.  That is what makes that crackling sound when water is cavitating in a pipe or valve:  all those bubbles continuously imploding.  So, here is my theory–not exactly cavitation, but similar concept.

One of our favorite Crowdmembers, Tim Elsner, kept remarking about how “top to bottom” the set waves were breaking.  Got it, a lot of vertical movement in the water.  So, somehow on the set waves the lips were driving the air in the whitewater down further below the surface than normal.  Rather than coalescing like bubbles underwater usually do as they move up toward the surface (you know, like all those diving videos show from the deepwater divers), the bubbles were imploding, making the crackling sound.  Maybe the bubbles were being held down by the whitewater, similar to us humans.  Rather than coalesce, the pressure got to them and they imploded.

Sounds like a research topic, but not sure who would fund it.


Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

7 09 2011

All within about 5 yards of the Gateway to Uppers (the footpath under the trestle–see prior post).  Not a friendly place to be.

Seems to be related to the construction that started back up right on time — September 1, the end of nesting season for the wetlands birds.