La Jolla, California is a sunny spot with sandy beaches. It is a spot that is well-known for a small cove (La Jolla Cove) where snorkeling, swimming, and scuba diving is popular. It is a location where locals and visitors can view sea lions and seals easily; and it is also a location that has an unobtrusive building with a secret tunnel that leads to a sea cave that is better suited for pirates, smugglers, and every adventure imaginable. For the last one hundred and ten years, this sea cave – the Sunny Jim cave – has been one of San Diego’s best long term microadventures, and is a location with a unique history.
If you have a job like me, there's a temptation to view each week as an endless progression of identical days, broken only by minor events like the new fall lineup on TV, baseball playoffs, football games, vacations, weekends, and other minor spectacles. The savvy reader, however, will note that I say that this is merely a "temptation". Sure, one can get sucked into that mindset, but really, there's no reason to. This is San Diego - and there's always something phantasmagorical going on! The perfect example for this week is the RED TIDE or rather, I should say, the return of the RED TIDE! (Cue ominious and magical music).
"What is this so-called 'Red Tide' " you ask? Well, let me tell you: The “red tide” is caused by a large growth of algae – dinoflagellates – in a particular area. The large growth or “blooms” of these organisms cause the water to turn red – or brown in the affected area during the day, but at night, the movement of the water causes the dinoflagellates to emit bright flashes of light.
But wait - "I want to know more about the Red Tide", you now say. Great. Here's plenty of great red tide information for your reading pleasure: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/sep/27/red-tide-causing-stunning-bioluminescence-san-dieg/ ; http://lastadventurer.com/last-adventurers-fieldnotes/2010/5/11/red-tide-red-tide.html ; http://lastadventurer.com/last-adventurers-fieldnotes/2010/5/28/red-tide-ii-san-diego-may-27-2010-and-on.html.
Now, after doing all of this research I know what you are wondering: 1) Is it cooler than my glowing flat screen broadcasting the new "must see TV"; and 2) How do I see this wondrous natural glowy stuff?
1) Yes. Do you have to even ask? The sea is glowing!!!!
2) You'd find a beach anywhere from La Jolla, California to Carlsbad, California. The darker, the better. Artificial light ruins night vision and makes the phenomenon harder to see.
Let me also say that the best way to experience the red tide is not to stand back at a distance and stare at it (although, it is pretty hypnotic), but get up close and personal with it. Walk the tideline and watch your steps glow; or carve blazing runes and symbols in the sand with your fingers. No matter what you do, get out and enjoy it while you can, because like anything magical, it doesn't last long.
If nothing else, sing the song that I do, "Reeeeeeeeeeeed Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide". Don't do it out loud though. Other people on the beach find that creepy.