San Mateo Creek Flows Again!

14 01 2017
Looking southeast at the estuary/lagoon.  Note the breach to the right.

Looking southeast at the estuary/lagoon. Note the breach to the right.

It’s been a few years, but the San Mateo Creek watershed “sponge” finally got full and started to overflow.  That is, all the soils upstream got full of water and started to seep/flow into the gullies that make up the watershed.  And, down to the creek bed and out to the ocean.

The last time it really flowed significantly was in December 2010; and flow it did, for almost six months.  It will be interesting to see how long it continues to flow with the off and on storms predicted over the next week or more.

The Trestles and the watershed.

The Trestles and the watershed.

Could the Southern California drought finally have broken?  Too early to tell, but it’s off to a good start.

Word is the creek broke out of the estuary/lagoon through the sand berm and out onto the reef at Uppers this morning.  You can see by the mud plumes in the ocean that it has been flowing for several hours at the time of these photos about 4:00 p;m today.

As happens with natural water courses, each time it breaks out, the flow “braids” to a new path.  We all got used to the “lagoon” that was dug out by the 2010 storms.  This time, the flow shoots straight out, dumping a lot of sand, and probably some cobbles, on top of the reef just north of what we call “Garcia-land,”  which is the north shoulder of the point. Wonder what new shape the bottom will take now.  Maybe a lagoon on each side of the point?  Maybe a  “north bay” and a “south bay?”

From over Garcia-land.  Notice the muddy surfline water.

From over Garcia-land. Notice the muddy surfline water.

Enjoy the photos.  A video may show up over the next few days.

Liquid gold.

Liquid gold.

Filling the reef with sand.

Filling the reef with sand.

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Where Did Everybody Go?

16 05 2015

Today was one of those days.  Eery, but I’m not complaining.

When I pulled up to the parking lot awhile after dawn, it was raining and cold for the middle of May.  There were very few cars , and even fewer people, in the parking lot.  I turned off the radio and was debating as to whether to just doze off for awhile, wrapped in a beach towel, or sneak between rain drops down to the beach.  But, I resisted the urge to snooze.

Somehow, I convinced myself to pull on my wetsuit while crammed in the driver’s seat of my Honda Civic to avoid the rain.  It took a few minutes of contortions, but I did it.  I hesitantly opened the door and crawled over to the trunk to unfurl my portable folding bike.  Everything got soaked.  The second thoughts were pouring in, but I got it all snapped into place and inserted the seat post, which has my board rack permanently attached.  Then, I had to work my way over to the passenger seat and get my board out of its bag without letting the sky flush into the car.

When I got done with this little exercise, I looked up to see a couple other surfers who had done the same thing.  We traded comments about how silly all the other regulars were for not “braving the elements” this morning.  But we also acknowledged the irony of our own petty thoughts of having to get wet to go surfing.  Hmmm.

What I am getting to is the fact that despite the classic overhead waves and offshore wind, almost nobody from the Crowd showed up this morning.  There were only five people in the water for about an hour after daybreak.  By the time I pedaled down the trail, there were still only ten.  There were so many great waves it was like our own private surf resort.  Very unusual.  But, it wasn’t just the rain.

Yesterday, predicted to be the best day of the swell, it blew out severely by 7:00 am.  And, Surfline predicted even worse conditions today.  Fortunately, the low pressure system that dumped rain on us suddenly swung south of Trestles instead of north.  So, instead of heavy onshore winds, we got light offshore winds for most of the day.  It caught most of the Crowd by surprise.  Very unusual.

I don’t even have any photos to show what it was like because it was too rainy for cameras and everyone would rather be bagging barrels instead of shooting photos.  So, you’ll just have to take our word for it.

Pure luck.  It doesn’t happen often, but this time it was in my favor.  Keep your eye on those wind models this time of year.  Your turn can be next.