Saturday, June 26, 2010

grunion greeting, 2010 #5

grunion greeting
full moon cycle, 10:45-12:00am, overcast skies

Sorry to say, this may have been our last hurrah to look for the locally elusive Leuresthes tenuis. We haven't seen any this year at all and it's beyond discouraging. To be fair, unlike last year, we're not going out 1/2 hour before high tide for 2-3 nights in a row. I was counting on the June full moon to deliver a grunion run, but no such luck.

Since we were asked to stay out to 1:00am, we took a nap. When my alarm went off, I woke up confused wondering who'd be calling us so late. Then I heard a mumble from the other side of the pillows, "I don't want to go... but if you insist, I can be convinced." Gotta love the man!

When we arrived there were a couple bonfires and 16-25 people all along the beach, many in the water with flashlights. We assumed it was Dr. G's entourage, but instead the group turned out to be a couple families of local fishermen. I talked with some of them and they were very friendly. Some of the wives were hula dancers for a beach party at Adventures by the Sea back in 2007 when they saw a big grunion run (it amazes me how all these local stories refer to that particular summer). This is the first year they decided to try collecting grunion. Usually, they're on the pier at night using lines for smelt and mackerel. Apparently, they came out the 2 nights after the last new moon (6/13 & 6/14). They claim they saw a ton of grunion by flashlight in the shallow waters that Sunday night and nothing on Monday night. When I asked if they noticed any laying eggs in the sand, they said no. Andy pointed out that he wasn't sure if what they saw were really grunion since there are several kinds of small silvery fish.

We walked down to the cement structure and by the time we got back to the pier most of the group had left. There were 2 young sea lions near the pier and 3 seagulls in the usual spot 100 yards out on the berm. By 11:30 the MBARI fellow and a couple interns from St. Louis arrived. They, too, walked down the beach. I wasn't feeling all that well, so we left early figuring if any grunion showed up George would report it.

We may not continue with this program given the extra effort it takes to drag ourselves out of bed to get to the beach... or to make it through the next day. I may never get a chance to report a W-3 and I even had the 1-800 number hotline programmed on my cell. Phooey!