During this week after which many just celebrated the rolling back of the stone from the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, it seems that it should be easy to believe in miracles. But in this paradise, the beach is a morgue without hope of resurrection. Scores of dead birds lie in the sand, the impeccably white breasts of western grebes turned skyward, the dark shapes of cormorants that you hope are just piles of kelp. A pelican lies on his back, pedaling, pedaling and then falls still. Domoic acid poisoning is what neighborhood chitchat and a search of the web tells me. Demonic, spellcheck wants to write. That seems about right to me.
Domoic acid, or red algae, is a naturally occurring toxin, the articles tell you. A few months ago a friend who grew up here, surfing and fishing and boating told me that was an oversimplification. Man, no doubt, has his hand in this somewhere.
The sea lions will probably be next.
|Today, Anacapa in the distance.|
|Today, a bit later. The islands have disappeared.|