new moon cycle, 10:23-11:40, cloudy skies
Welp, every grunion greeting night we've done has been a little bit different than the others. The only person we knew who showed up was Bob Lea, a retired marine biologist with the CA Fish and Game (er, Fish and Wildlife). He has that calm, solid demeanor of someone who has spent a majority of his life outdoors. There were several other people on the beach and the wharf with buckets and big lights, out to experience the spectacle that is a grunion run. It's open season now, but I wish it wasn't since grunion in Monterey is such a rare sight. One lady came for her grandchild, and she ended up having more fun chasing grunion than the boy who was quite scared of the fish. I laughed at her pure joy and exuberance, even though I felt a little sorry for the mating grunion she snatched up. Bob convinced a couple of the grunion captors to allow him to measure their caught fish. In a dry bucket, the grunion quickly lose their blush or mint green glow and become quite silvery. There was also a luau being held at the recently renamed Del Monte Beach House, complete with 80's dance music and karaoke, judging by the tone-deaf singing we heard.
Once again, the grunion did not disappoint. Why couldn't we have seen this from 2009-2011? Numerous scouts were first spotted right after we arrived ~10:25. Then shortly after high tide of 10:43, the grunion runs peaked with a couple hundred on the beach at a time. The waves had an incredible reach up the sand, leaving many of us soaked. I'm debating whether to report this as a W-2 or a W-3; the numbers were slightly less than the first night after the full moon 2 weeks ago. The fish petered out by 11:05, right before last call for alcohol and horrendous singing ensued from the luau. After most of the people left, Charlie and 3 of his night heron buddies joined the after-party. A gull gobbled up a lone grunion at 11:27. We ducked out very pleased with our excursion at 11:40.