I am thrilled to have mystery writer, and blogging friend, Margot Kinberg with us today on the blog to tell us all about the beaches where she lives in California.
Margot writes the blog ‘Confessions of a Mystery Novelist’ and is the author of the Joel Williams, mystery series. An Associate Professor who normally talks all things crime fiction, Margot’s taking a break from the mystery writing to tell us all about the beaches she lives near and why it’s so important we preserve them…
Thanks so much for inviting me as a guest – I’m honoured and excited to be here. I live in Southern California, only about 10k (6 miles) from the nearest beach. Beaches are a big part of life here, and people love them. The climate where I live is semi-arid, so it never gets very cold. That means people can use the beach all year-long.
There’s lots to do at the beach. Fishing, swimming, kayaking and surfing are very popular. So is just taking a walk in the sand. People also like to bring their cookouts and picnics, and enjoy a meal as they watch the waves. There are even beaches (one is about 40k (25 miles) from where I live) that allow off-lead dog walking, so dogs can enjoy a dip and some exercise.
Southern California beaches aren’t just fun, though; they are very important for a lot of reasons. One of them is the animals and plants that live in the ocean. There are several species of shark and whale, birds such as herons (I’ve seen pelicans, too!), and crustaceans. I’ve seen dolphins and dozens of smaller fish as well. Those animals and plants are vital parts of our ecosystem. The animals are also economically important. Small fishing teams and local restaurants rely on the balance of life in the ocean. So do local food growers.
There’s another reason the beaches and ocean are so important where I live. As I mentioned before, Southern California has a semi-arid climate. That means that we don’t get a lot of rain. Every single drop is important. One way the ocean helps us is the marine layer. That’s an air mass that develops over the ocean. When the air on land is a lot warmer than the air on the water (and that happens quite often where I live), the marine layer moves inland. It cools the temperature and often leaves a mist. That mist gives very important ground moisture to the plants and animals that live on land.
All sorts of lizards, snakes, coyotes, scrub trees and other plants depend on the marine layer. So do humans, of course. The marine layer is especially important during the dry season when even less rain than usual falls. Firefighters love it when that cool air moves in and allows them to fight and prevent wildfires.
Southern Californians know how important it is to take care of the beach and the animals that live there. For example, on the beach closest to where I live, there’s a special enclosure to help protect snowy plovers and their eggs. Local communities have placed bins in a lot of different places near the sand, to make it easier for people to put their rubbish where it belongs, and not in the water or on the sand itself. And there is a big push for people to be very careful about what they put down the drains. After all, whatever you put in drains can end up in the ocean.
There’s also a big movement to cut down on the use of things like plastic bags and lots of product wrapping. In fact, Californians are going to vote next year on a proposed law banning plastic bags used in places such as grocery stores.
There are many places in Southern California where you can learn all about the plants and animals that share the beach and ocean with us humans. The Birch Aquarium and the San Diego Botanic Garden are both places that offer great information on local plants and animals and on how to help take care of them.
Thanks again for having me! See you at the beach!!
A big thank you to Margot Kinberg for taking the time to tell us all about her Californian beaches. All photos featured in the post, are Margot’s own photos. You can catch up with Margot over on her blog or keep up to date on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.