Seychelles, beaches in the tropical Indian Ocean, JVS; 1989.
Navigating the site:
The Sandy Shore
The Grunion are running they say tonight, the grunion are running!
While it almost is too true to believe its actually a high tide experience in Santa Barbara, and Malibu, or other southern California sandy beaches, because these sardine like fish lay their eggs in the sand at or near the high tide during the summer. I will never forget the feeling of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of squirming, slimy and ever moving creatures seething in unison to lay their eggs as I walked along the moonlit beach, surf pounding, air crisp from the day's fog and the cold current pressing us all against the gently sloping beaches.
There during a summer's night on a beach in Malibu squishing about under the rolling tongue of the surf as it advanced and retreated, I felt more than the teeming life of the fish of this shore under my feet. I felt more than the ocean heave beneath my bare legs and I felt more than the spawning fish wriggling into and out of the sand between the waves between my cold toes. I was moved in my naiveté to recall that the sea will claim us us all in the end and it will take you places only if you learn how to live with its immensity in the smallness of your heart.
JVS, free writing, 04.
Typical beach of a barrier island:
Fore shore [nearest the ocean] versus Back shore [farther inland].
berm -- single most important feature of the shore, dividing line.
vegetation line -- indicator of storm, surge, and spring tide
mean high tide -- a legal demarcation with respect to state ownership
mean low tide -- biological demarcation of the sublittoral zone
intertidal zonation -- divisions of the shore into "life zones."
Perhaps it is the excitement, the allure, the expanse onto which the mysteries spill that make the beach --that "rim of sand"-- so seductive to our imaginations that we will do anything for a beach experience?
By that I mean that in the last century the coastal states, through the Federal treasury have spent over four billion dollars --$4 billion: $4,000.000.000-- in putting sand back where we think it belongs.
As opposed to where the longshore current, rivers and tides place the sandy sediment, marine engineers, based largely on the Dutch experiences and wartime necessities, have become quite adept at putting eroded sands back onto the remaining beaches. This has three fundamental facets you must understand:
Physical properties of sand
Different deposits, based on aggregate grain sizes have specific ranges of capacity for supporting the mass of anything dwelling in or on the substrate.
Creatures must adjust to the transient character of sandy shores, or migrate. These are indicator species of seaside conditions:
Transect of a typical shore.
sublittoral | intertidal | splash zone | fore shore | berm | back shore | fore dune |
Let us accept the proposition that nature is process, that it is interacting, that it responds to laws, representing values and opportunities for human use with certain limitations and even prohibitions to certain of these.
In their long dialogue with the sea the Dutch have learned that it cannot be stopped but merely directed or tempered, and so they have always selected flexible construction.
Perhaps the most reasonable approach would be to investigate the tolerance or intolerance of the various environments to human use in general and to some particular uses.
"The peninsula stands farther out to sea than any other portion of the United States; it is the outermost of outer shores. Thundering against the cliff, the ocean here encounters the last defiant bulwark of two worlds."
Henry Beston, The Outermost House, pp. 3-4. 1949.
"The bulk of the seashore sand is derived from the weathering and decay of rocks, transported from their place of origin to the sea by rains and the rivers. The unhurried processes of erosion, in the freighting seaward, in the interruptions and resumptions of that journey,.... In the mountains the slow decay and the disintegration of rocks proceed, and the stream of sediments grows --suddenly and dramatically by rockslides--...."
R. Carson, pp. 126-127.
problem solving index.
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