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Salton Sea. Holy Mackerel!

January 28, 2012

Only about a half-hour drive got us to Salton City and we opted to pull off the highway into the road marked Marina.

What we read about Salton Sea prior to going there didn’t prepare us for the sights (and smells!) of the what we saw. Nothing but dead fish as far as the eye could see, and the “beach sand” was crunched fish bones.

The former Yacht Club was nothing but parking spaces and burned palm trees, and the roads to the marina were as if no one had driven on them for decades. Very little sign of life anywhere. Very eerie, to say the least.

The only happy residents are the fat seagulls but I have to wonder, if they eat the dead fish, aren’t they going to be dead next??


From afar, the sea looks normal, except for the stench of dead fish

Once a boat mooring at the yacht club, now a pile of bird poop

Then we walked down onto the shore line – POW, it hit us, we were looking at nothing but scales.







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13 Comments
  1. Urbane Forester permalink
    January 28, 2012 6:03 pm

    Stunning….but there goes our thought of a fish dinner. A testament to the power of man to pollute and despoil his own nest – and that of 400 avian species too.

  2. January 28, 2012 6:54 pm

    UF: We decided to pass on a fish dinner too. We read that this area used to be a haven for hundreds of bird species. It was so barren and desolate, we felt we stepped into some twilight zone.

    I am trying to upload a video I took but this computer connection is painfully slow it might take until tomorrow to post Salton Sea, The Movie. Stay tuned.

  3. January 28, 2012 7:27 pm

    Hi,
    I was very intrigued by this area, so I had to go and read up on it.
    We also used to have an inland sea here in OZ millions of years ago, the only thing left of course was skeletal remains of bygone species, and it is part of our so called dinosaur trail now, all very interesting.

    The salinity that is present in the Salton Sea reminds me a bit of the Dead Sea in the middle east, with such a high concentration of salt that nothing survives in it. Very interesting photos, and it would of been a shock to see, especially as you were expecting something totally different.
    Salton Sea Wikipedia

  4. January 28, 2012 9:38 pm

    Wow, this is incredible. I’ve read about the Salton Sea but have never been there. How long has it been this bad? I know the salinity increases every year, but I thought there were still populations of some fish and also waterfowl. I’m amazed and dismayed. But what extraordinary documentation. I’m glad I stopped by.

  5. January 28, 2012 10:25 pm

    Ingrid: I wish I had the answers. I have not done as much research as I should have but now that I’ve seen this, I will no doubt back-up and read. Mags linked us to a good article and I know there’s one in National Geographic. On the far side of the sea, there is the Salton Sea state Recreation area and I suspect since it is a recognized state park, that side of the sea might still be alive. Needless to say, the signs do NOT direct you to where we landed, far from it. We really didn’t know where to head ourselves, we just did a point and shoot with the car, looking at what seemed a logical point. And wow.

    On the way back to La Quinta, we stopped a bit further up the sea and saw three men FISHING. I mean, what could they possibly be thinking? There did seem to be two pools of water, one decidedly brown, where all the fish were dead, and some blue, with a current running through it. Maybe that’s where all the birds and alive fish are.

    Glad you stopped by too, Ingrid.

  6. Val permalink
    January 29, 2012 8:14 pm

    This is such a shame, all those fish dead. I’d not heard of Salton Sea before (my know-it-all husband had, though!)

  7. January 29, 2012 8:30 pm

    I had never heard of the Salton Sea either Val until here and was trying to decide some interesting things to go and see. Two points for your hubby!

  8. January 30, 2012 9:32 pm

    Your photos are great – we can all see that the once fertile lake is now a barren stinky mess of dead fish. I live a couple of hour’s drive away from here and I’ve never been there. Why? Because I live here and if I go see it I’m going to get *mad* which will not achieve anything besides raising my blood pressure, because the sad truth is no one cares.

    The whole of Southern California is a semi desert area really, and the major part of the problem is that we’ve drained too much water from the lake (as we did the water in the Central Valley for us folks in L.A. and San Diego to water our lawns….We’re having a very hot winter with little rain but I still see people watering their sidewalks [even though that's 'supposedly' illegal now].

    This National Geographic article is very good
    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0502/feature5/fulltext.html

  9. January 31, 2012 9:09 am

    Rosie: We see more grass watering than our eyes can believe. We hoped it came from contained rain water but I’m guessing not. Thanks for the link to the NG article. Mr. EOS found another good article, done at San Diego State University:
    http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/salton/Salton%20Sea%20Description.html

  10. Pam Wylie permalink
    February 11, 2012 7:19 pm

    It’s true the Sea is in trouble, but most of what you are seeing is a natural process that has been happening here for thousands, yes, thousands of years. People always talk about the smell but it is really only right by the waterfront. Having living here at the Sea for the past year, I can tell you on most days, this is one of the prettiest place I’ve ever seen. The sunrises and sunsets are as sweet as Hawaii as the geo-thermal activity creates it’s own clouds and when the full moon rises over the Sea, omg! Don’t judge the whole area by the waterfront, nature will clean the Sea or dry it up – man doesn’t have much control over it really. Last plus, I see the Milky Way every night!

  11. February 11, 2012 7:54 pm

    What a wonderful comment Pam. Thanks so much for taking the time to educate us.

  12. Kim permalink
    July 30, 2012 9:26 am

    Eerie and fascinating.

  13. July 30, 2012 9:41 am

    You should have SMELLED the place.

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