Park Wavelengths - January 2013
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Reminder: Even on relatively calm days, large sneaker waves can strike without warning. Sneaker waves surge high up on the dry sand with enough force to knock you down and drag you into the ocean--serious injury or death can occur from the combination of numbing cold water, turbulent surf and rip currents. Don't turn your back on the ocean! For more information, visit our Beaches page.
The new moon rises on Friday, January 11 over extreme high tides of 7.1 feet at 9:36 am easing down to 6.9 feet at 10:27 am on Saturday, January 13. Limantour and the Great Beaches remain accessible during these high tides, but Drakes will have limited access around the cliffs. If a storm surge occurs, elephant seals often surf up onto the beach near the visitor center at Drakes Beach to rest in the ice plant!
Northern elephant seals are napping, breeding, and pupping on the outer beaches! The latest count is 535 total seals including 58 pups! The easiest place to see the newborns--24 are on the beach--is below the Chimney Rock Overlook.
An unusual geological formation may be seen by walking down the south side of Drakes Beach--"a huge organic-looking ring of carbonate concretions" (thank you Frank Binney, Seal Docent!). Created by ancient methane gas rising through ocean sediments, it has been exposed by the annual winter process of sand being removed from the beaches.
Limantour Road and McClures Beach Trail have reopened with temporary repairs made in both locations.
All park visitor centers will be open for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Monday, January 21. Shuttles to the Lighthouse and Chimney Rock areas will operate if the weather is clear.
Note: we have converted to a new type of email; we hope there are no difficulties translating addresses and text!
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Forwarded to Park Wavelengths
Did You Know?
Elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) regularly plunge to depths of 2000 feet to find food, but even far below the ocean's surface they are affected by warming temperatures and melting Antarctic ice. More...