Outdoors

Monday, November 18, 2019

Crab Quality Delays Commercial Season Opening

Posted By on Mon, Nov 18, 2019 at 12:46 PM

Another crab season, another delay. - C. JUHASZ/CDFW WEBSITE
  • C. Juhasz/CDFW website
  • Another crab season, another delay.
The commercial crab season for Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties is being delayed due to “poor crab meat quality tests,” according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

But there’s still hope for crab by New Year's,  if not Christmas.

In a Nov. 15 memo, CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham wrote that “quality tests conducted on Nov. 3, 2019, indicate the crabs will not be ready for harvest on Dec. 1, 2019.”

For now, the season is pushed back to Dec. 16. Another round of testing will take to place around Dec. 1 to determine if the crabs have fattened up enough, otherwise the start date could be delayed again until Dec. 31.

“The season can be delayed no later than Jan. 15, which is what happened in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons,” the CDFW release notes.


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Teen Rescuers Featured in Washington Post

Posted By and on Mon, Nov 18, 2019 at 9:30 AM

Spenser Stratton, Taj Ortiz-Beck and Adrian York. - COURTESY OF EVA YORK
  • Courtesy of Eva York
  • Spenser Stratton, Taj Ortiz-Beck and Adrian York.
This morning’s Washington Post feature’s a story about four local teenage surfers who rescued two brothers on Nov. 11 in the waters off Trinidad State Beach.

The rescue, first reported in the North Coast Journal, took place around 1:30 p.m. after the 15 year old and 20 year old visiting from out of town were swept out past the breakers on a foggy afternoon.

The four teens (hailing from Trinidad, Westhaven and Arcata, according to Dillon Cleavenger, a lifeguard with the State Parks who knows them) were surfing when they saw the two brothers in distress. “[T]hey noticed two men panicked and screaming for help as they were being sucked out against their will in a rip current,” Cleavenger said.

According to the Post’s article, “We told them, ‘Calm down — we got you!’ ” said one of the rescuers, Narayan Weibel, age 16. “Being out in that cold water without a wet suit is like taking an ice bath. They were having a hard time keeping their heads above water and thought they were going to die.”


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Thursday, November 14, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: A Handful of Night Light

Posted By on Thu, Nov 14, 2019 at 1:03 PM

From Patrick’s Point, to the Avenue of the Giants, to the Lost Coast of legend, I give you … a handful of seven lovely Humboldt nights. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • From Patrick’s Point, to the Avenue of the Giants, to the Lost Coast of legend, I give you … a handful of seven lovely Humboldt nights.
I was in a situation not long ago with a handful of nights with which I knew not what to do. How many nights are there in a handful? You might wonder, though I never had, but it turns out that it depends on how big they are. The nights, not the hands … well, and the hands. In this case, it worked out such that when my wife held out her hands, I poured about a week’s worth of nights into them: seven magical evenings of North Coast Night Light to share with you here. Let’s pop among them for a little tour.

Were I to pour these evenings into your hand just so, inside the globe at the tip of your fingers you would find yourself high up in a quiet rocky grotto in the forest. The air is still in your protected eyrie, but its rush soughs softly through the forest all around you. An opening in the foliage reveals the Eel River far below, gliding between redwood-covered hillsides. A dazzling night sky dominated by the Milky Way reaches across from horizon to horizon like a great tear in the sky.

A step clockwise and you find yourself pushing through from one scene to the next in your handful of evenings. You’re above U.S. highway 101 now, standing beside the Avenue of the Giants where it passes over the Redwood Highway. It’s near midnight, and the only cars out this late zip by on the freeway below, each zooming past in its individual bubble of light. If you could watch with the patient eye of the camera rather than your own, you would see the cars as meteors trailing streaks of light that each become part of the scene. Several of them might pass by before you blinked once, each dragging their light tails behind them and adding their brushwork of light to the trees on either hand.

One night slips quietly into the next. So peaceful is this one, sitting beside the banks of the South Fork Eel River on a warm summer’s night. You steep there for a while with the redwood forest around you and the soft sounds of water playing along the shore beside you. Surrounded by a skyline of giant redwood silhouettes reaching into higher into the heavens than any other living organism, you consider small you are among living things.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Sneaker Wave Threat Comes on Heels of Trinidad Rescue

Posted By on Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 2:07 PM

sneakerwave.png
The National Weather Service office in Eureka is warning of an increased risk of sneaker waves Thursday and Friday, a threat that comes on the heels of four teenage surfers — including one who is a state parks lifeguard — rescuing two swimmers off the shore of Trinidad State Beach yesterday.

According to the weather service, a “building large, long period west to northwest swell” will bring the possibility of the waves that can suddenly sweep up a beach, with the potential of taking beachgoers into the water.

“Remember to never turn your back on the ocean,” the notice states.

The swell will also “spread through the waters on Friday and Saturday, resulting in steep and hazardous seas for small craft,” according to NWS.

The deadly combination of cool waters and a rip current nearly took the lives of a 15 year old and a 20 year old visiting from Shasta County on Monday when they were rescued.

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SECOND UPDATE: Teen Surfers Rescue Two Swept Out by Rip in Trinidad

Posted By on Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 12:39 PM

Four teenage surfers came to the rescue of a 15 year old and 20 year old who were in severe distress Nov. 11 after being swept out by a rip current off Trinidad State Beach.

According to Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Samantha Karges, a call came in around 1:30 p.m. reporting that the swimmers, both from Shasta County, were in trouble.

The surfers — off-duty California State Parks lifeguard Adrian York and Spenser Stratton, Taj Ortiz-Beck and Narayan Weibel, two of whom were junior lifeguard participants — were able to put the swimmers on their boards and bring them safely to shore in teams of two.
Spenser Stratton, Taj Ortiz-Beck and Adrian York. - COURTESY OF EVA YORK
  • Courtesy of Eva York
  • Spenser Stratton, Taj Ortiz-Beck and Adrian York.
At 16, York just made the minimum age cutoff to become a lifeguard and was recently certified after undergoing rigorous training with five others from the North Coast down in Huntington Beach.

“We’re are very proud,” says Keven Harden, a supervising ranger at Patrick’s Point State Park who oversees the junior lifeguard program. “To see this ending. . .. This was our vision of the program.”

York, he says, swam back to shore to make sure 911 was called before heading back out to swimmers.
Narayan Weibel and Adrian York. - COURTESY OF EVA YORK
  • Courtesy of Eva York
  • Narayan Weibel and Adrian York.
Harder says the water was around 50 degrees that day, making extremely difficult even for the best of swimmers without the right gear.

“That takes the fight right out of you,” he says, adding that he was among the first responders, arriving at the scene within six minutes of the 911 call. “We were relieved to see our own kids were there already having made the rescue.”

Harder says he talked with one of the swimmers afterward, who said he was barely able to keep his mouth above water when the teens arrived on their boards.

“They were very close (to not making it),” he says.

He and Karges noted that dangerous water conditions can occur at any time.

“If it were not for these heroic surfers, this event may have ended tragically,” she wrote in an email to the Journal.

Antonio Llanos, who was at the beach with his daughter, says he called 911 after hearing shouts for help coming from the water at the same time as the surfers began heading out to the distressed pair of teenagers, who were about 50 feet offshore and out past the breakers.

Llanos says the surfers were out by Trinidad Head and had to paddle several hundred yards to reach them.

“They were definitely struggling to get in and they were not getting in, but the fog made it really hard to see what was going on,” he says.

Llanos says another person who was on the beach donned a wetsuit and also headed out to the teens, who were dressed in shorts and T-shirts not meant for the cold temperatures of the North Coast’s water.

While he spoke with a dispatcher, who stayed on the line with him, Llanos watched the rescue unfold, noting he called 911 right away because he knew time was of the essence in these cases.

First responders arrived on scene soon after the four surfers brought the teens safely back to shore.

“Everyone was giving each other hugs but they definitely looked shook up and happy to be on dry land,” Llanos says.

Moments like that show how important programs like the junior lifeguard can be and Llanos says he’s thankful he witnessed a happy ending rather than a tragic event.

“They definitely deserve some recognition because that was an amazing rescue and they definitely saved those kids lives,” Llanos says.
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Thursday, November 7, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: A Trail to the Moonset

Posted By on Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 11:57 AM

No beach access here, a steep staircase descends to a narrow sandy trail snaking out to the point. Precipitous cliffs on either side offer a deadly drop to the wave-battered rocks far below. High above the ocean the point pushes into the waves crashing relentlessly against its base. I scurried along the narrow path in the dark in numerous attempts to illuminate the trail for the camera. My brother Seth would close the camera shutter for me after I’d painted in the observation area. Tepona Point, Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • No beach access here, a steep staircase descends to a narrow sandy trail snaking out to the point. Precipitous cliffs on either side offer a deadly drop to the wave-battered rocks far below. High above the ocean the point pushes into the waves crashing relentlessly against its base. I scurried along the narrow path in the dark in numerous attempts to illuminate the trail for the camera. My brother Seth would close the camera shutter for me after I’d painted in the observation area. Tepona Point, Humboldt County, California.
Scenic Drive in northern Humboldt County, California, offers beautiful western vistas over the Pacific Ocean. Extending from Moonstone Beach at the south end to Trinidad in the north, the drive itself is rough and in areas may require a car with good clearance, and sometimes four wheel drive. The road may not even go completely through at times during harsher, wetter winters. It becomes a winter casualty, as the relentless forces of water from the rains above and the waves below can be delayed but temporarily as nature ignores the best efforts of humanity in its ravenous desire to melt the cliffs into the sea.

Tepona Point stands out from the coast on Scenic Drive, a little north of Moonstone Beach. A natural pier of sorts, it boldly extends the coastline’s reach far into the lashing waves, which at the tip are perhaps thirty to fifty feet below. One’s experience at the point, and particularly on the trail out to it, may well depend upon your feelings about heights and the ocean, and on your confidence in the support of sandy soil. The trail out to the tip is narrow and made of sand perched upon rock, and to left and right are deadly cliffs dropping into the rocks and pounding surf.
A daytime look at Tepona Point. A steep flight of wooden stairs and a narrow trail take you out to the tip, where it widens to a sandy viewing area with a bench and a railing around the edge. Each season sees a little more eroded away. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • A daytime look at Tepona Point. A steep flight of wooden stairs and a narrow trail take you out to the tip, where it widens to a sandy viewing area with a bench and a railing around the edge. Each season sees a little more eroded away.
My lay person’s geologic description is that Tepona Point’s foundation is the typical sturdy rock we have along this part of the coast. The photograph shows some rocks like it still standing out in the ocean in brave defiance of the elements. They were once connected to the land, too. Yet none of them will survive; all will tumble into the sea. On top of this foundation is an accumulation of sand and sandy soil, held onto the rocks by vegetation. It feels little more substantial than a compacted sand dune sitting atop a rock.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Gray Whale Found Washed Up on Agate Beach

Posted By on Wed, Nov 6, 2019 at 3:20 PM

This photo of the gray whale washed up on Agate Beach was taken under permits NOAA 19091-01 and CA Parks 18-828-52 . - SUBMITTED BY DAWN GOLEY
  • Submitted by Dawn Goley
  • This photo of the gray whale washed up on Agate Beach was taken under permits NOAA 19091-01 and CA Parks 18-828-52 .
A gray whale was discovered washed up on Agate Beach yesterday amid an elevated number of strandings along the west coast of North America this year that has scientists working to uncover the reason for the anomaly.

The adult male’s beaching comes about two weeks after a humpback whale that was found entangled in fishing nets on Samoa beach, resulting in the animal being euthanized after a specialist determined the female would not be able to survive the trauma.

NOAA Fisheries recently declared what is known as an "Unusual Mortality Event," freeing up resources and triggering a multi-faceted scientific review to figure out why gray whales are dying at higher than normal rates.

Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 212 stranding were been reported along the coast from Mexico to Alaska, with 121 occurring in a U.S., including 34 in California, according to NOAA’s gray whale Unusual Mortality Event” page.

NOAA
  • NOAA
Dawn Goley, a zoology professor at Humboldt State University and director of the Marine Mammal Education and Research Program and the HSU Marine Mammal Stranding Program, says the parks service reported this most recent beaching.

A team has taken blubber samples and other measurements to be sent to NOAA to help determine the cause of death, although — in this particular case — the whale was already well into the decomposition stage, making it harder to pinpoint why the animal died.

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Friday, November 1, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Lost in Space (Big Dipper over Trinidad)

Posted By on Fri, Nov 1, 2019 at 9:38 AM

At the western edge of the North American continent, on the rough shores of the great Pacific Ocean, Trinidad, Humboldt County, California, sparkles in the moonlight under a starry sky. The Big Dipper and Polaris, the North Star, have been enhanced for recognizability. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • At the western edge of the North American continent, on the rough shores of the great Pacific Ocean, Trinidad, Humboldt County, California, sparkles in the moonlight under a starry sky. The Big Dipper and Polaris, the North Star, have been enhanced for recognizability.
The planet hung silently in space. A tiny jewel in the blackness, it was a half-lit marble of greens and browns and blues and whites. But it was more than a planet, it was a life-bearing droplet, a little oasis of life journeying in infinite patience in its timeless passage around the sun. Soft moonlight from its single silvery satellite played upon the planet’s face, creeping across continents and oceans as the world revolved in its glow.

From the moment of its birth, the planet was in constant motion. It orbited its sun in a never-ending ellipse, and it spun on its axis unceasingly. Beneath its surface tectonic forces pushed and pulled, shaping the planet’s larger features. Forces on the surface and above it carved and polished the land. Rivers wore the terrain down and carried it in their flows to the oceans, and the oceans themselves sloshed to the rhythm of the moon, their waves and tides nibbling at the edges of the land. The atmosphere roiled continuously overhead and further smoothed the planet’s features in its persistent caress.

Continents drifted, mountains rose and fell, glaciers came and went, each process shaping the land dramatically. But life on the planet was oblivious. Life is short, and the pace of change was long, and life lived on unaware and unconcerned, shaped through the eons by the very forces it could not see.

One night my brother Seth and I stood in the moonlight on the continent’s edge, two small ephemeral life forms contemplating the planet we call home. The moon’s silvery orb hung in the sky, bathing the western edge of the North American continent in moonlight where it met the great Pacific Ocean. Rocks mingled with the waves, vainly resisting the erosive forces tearing them down. Yet they seemed permanent fixtures.
At the western edge of the North American continent, on the rough shores of the great Pacific Ocean, Trinidad, Humboldt County, California, sparkles in the moonlight under a starry sky. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • At the western edge of the North American continent, on the rough shores of the great Pacific Ocean, Trinidad, Humboldt County, California, sparkles in the moonlight under a starry sky.


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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Large Surf Headed to Local Beaches

Posted By on Wed, Oct 16, 2019 at 10:58 AM

large_surf.png
The National Weather Office in Eureka is reminding Humboldt County residents of the oft-said mantra — never turn your back on the ocean — especially with the first major winter swell set to hit local beaches late today.

The west-northwest sets could hit heights of 16 to 20 feet for west-northwest facing beaches, with the largest waves expected to come ashore Thursday, but the swell will last through Friday, according to a NWS Facebook post.

“Increased wave action may overtop jetties and rocks, as well as enhance how far waves will run up beach slopes,” the post reads. “Remember, never turn your back to the ocean.”
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Friday, October 4, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Avenue of the Imagination

Posted By on Fri, Oct 4, 2019 at 2:28 PM

DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
Imagine, if you will, a journey down an avenue through corridors of towering redwoods. Between them the stars hang motionless in the sky, while streaking past beneath you fly the yellow dashes of the road. This is a road you think you know. But this night your journey will end in another destination, and what you find there is for you alone …

Would that I could lose myself in the world of that intro. I enjoyed the strange trip inside as I wrote, a dream that I didn’t want to fade. But really the tale is for the viewer to create within. We each have our own personal experiences that shape the stories that course through our thoughts as we look deeply into these or any images. What I shared in the introduction was a glimpse at the narrative in my own head around these images, with or without the crystal ball.

A reader asked last week, “What makes an image or photograph unique?” And the short answer was that there is no short answer, but perhaps a little discussion would be a place to start. A full discussion requires a lifetime, and much of it will be an internal dialog. Rather than trying to offer a cookbook for it, maybe I can give some tools for you to build on.
To what strange trip might this road lead? Safe travels, I hope.  Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • To what strange trip might this road lead? Safe travels, I hope. Humboldt County, California.
At the core of it is considering things from outside the box. Yes, there is always a box around the box, so just try to get out of the box you’re currently thinking within. Practice thinking and seeing in new ways. It would benefit anyone to understand the elements of design and the principles of design, and I recommend looking those up and thinking about them until you’re fairly familiar them. But don’t get stuck on them as absolutes because none of them is set in stone. Do what you will with them in your consciousness; what matters most is to let them steep in your subconscious. In a recipe do you have to use exactly a quarter teaspoon, or can you make it a dash or two? I say make it a dash. I get nervous if things have to be too precise. As with a chef who with enough experience stops worrying about precise measurements, the artist can also play by feel with the elements of design once they’ve been percolating in the subconscious long enough. Look them up and start them steeping.


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