Jun 142009

Anna and I were down near the border for some shopping and had a hankering for tacos. I used yelp on my phone to see what looked interesting near by. Surrounded by mall land I wasn’t optimistic. One taco shop with only three reviews sounded pretty good – Tacos Yaqui (111 W Olive Dr, San Ysidro, CA 92173). They are trying to emulate the places in Baja, and they do a pretty good job of it. These are bigger than street tacos, and a combo is very filling. Anna and I had the Tacos Perrones (carne asada) and Tacos Norteños (spicy shrimp). Both were excellent – some of the best tacos I’ve had in a while. If you are near the border but not crossing it, definitely look them up.

Tacos Yaqui

Feb 262009

There were about ten bright boats anchored just outside of the marine preserve, about a mile from where we were. They are there for the same reason we were – the squid run. Lisa, Mani, and I went for a night dive at La Jolla shores last night in hopes of seeing some. We didn’t have any luck. I’m not sure if they run was just smaller this year, or if the fishing boats were nabbing them all before they made it in to mate at the shores.

One thing was for sure, diving within a mile of squid fishing boats isn’t much fun. They toss small explosives off the boats to try to keep seals out of their nets. Sound travels very far under water, so even a mile away we hear and even feel the bombs in our chests. I’m not sure how much of it will transfer over, but I took a video to give a small idea of what that is like:

In short, annoying. As someone on a dive list said, it makes you wonder why you can’t go near a seal on a beach, but you can throw explosives near them from a boat.

Dec 212008

The above video isn’t the best quality (it is taken with my digital camera and dive light), but it does illustrate just how much life is on the old Ingraham Street Bridge. The site consists of rubble piles where they dumped the bridge structure just off shore near Mission Bay in 1985. The visibility wasn’t great, but this was a really nice site to explore. I hope to be back soon.

Dec 082008

San Diego county will be home for more artificial reefs. We already have several – The ships to reefs projects (Yukon, Ruby E, etc), and others like the old Ingraham Bridge debris.

The newest reef (though technically in Orange County) is also one of the biggest – the Wheeler North Artificial Kelp Reef is made up of 175-acres of 120,000 tons of volcanic rock two miles south of San Clemente Pier. It was built by Edison as a way to repair the damage done to an existing reef by the warm water discharge of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. It is the first artificial reef to specifically host kelp, and special care had to be taken to make sure it would take:

“There have been many failed attempts to build a kelp forest,” House said. “We learned you just can’t pile high rocks and expect a successful reef. David Kay, Southern California Edison’s manager of environmental projects, said the rocks must be large enough to anchor the kelp, which are algae that can grow 1½ to 2 feet a day to a length of 120 feet… Some of the rocks have to be light enough so the ocean can toss them about, to shake off organisms that crowd out the kelp.

LA Times reports that the Coastal Commission also has Edison doing some other projects to help repair the damage:

“Edison is also creating a $90-million, 150-acre wetland in Del Mar as part of its environmental mitigation, and has built a white sea bass hatchery in Carlsbad. In spite of a complex elevator system to help fish sucked into the plant’s cooling system return to the ocean, the power plant kills an average of 600 tons of fish each year, Kay said.”

Chula Vista is is hoping to increase local fish stocks by placing 350 structures off the shoreline of Bayside Park in Chula Vista.

Called “a-jacks,” the structures are made from concrete and are two feet wide and weigh 78 pounds each… When the project is finished, the Port says there will be about 35 artificial reefs that measure three feet tall and four feet in diameter.

An interesting aspect of the reef is the low cost – just $30,000 for the project. I suspect that is a raw materials cost and that labor is all volunteer, but that is still pretty impressive.

Dec 052008

I popped into the newly opened Halcyon Tea in South Park yesterday evening. The shop is located just a couple doors up from what used to be Santos, and a short block from Grant’s Marketplace. They have done a nice job fixing the shop up and it looks great.

Their tea selection is pretty good, prices reasonable, and they are happy to let you stick your nose in the big metal jars to check out different teas. I picked up some of my staples and tried out a new oolong. So far, I’m a fan. I wish them the best – opening a tea shop in a recession is not for the faint of heart.

Nov 042008

There was some epic visibility last week that I just caught the end of on Saturday, during a Scripps Canyon dive. The shallows were quite nice, but a little bit of a dead zone. Mistaking a crab trap for the new canyon line, we dropped in to find sheep crab tripping over each other to climb in. The canyon was bright and full of life as usual. I always forget how long the swim back to the pier underwater is (total run time for the dive was an hour, max 125′), but it definitely helps with off-gasing. I feel a lot better doing the long underwater swim back, rather than doing a slow accent, safety stop, and surface swim.

Oct 302008

I hope it is a wet winter for California. From KPBS:

The Department of Water Resources announced it will deliver just 15 percent of the amount that local water agencies throughout California request every year. That marks the second lowest projection since the first State Water Project deliveries were made in 1962… It could force farmers in the Central Valley to fallow fields and cities from the San Francisco Bay area to San Diego to impose mandatory water rationing.