Mysterious Oil Blobs Have Been Replaced By Tar Lines In Hermosa Beach

Petroleum Is Coming In With The Tide

Hermosa Beach oil
This line of tar is coming in with the tide onto the sand in Hermosa Beach, CA.


You are familiar with tan lines at the beach, of course.

Well now Hermosa Beach has tar lines.

The mysterious oil blobs that started appearing on L.A’s South Bay beaches last week have been replaced by long lines of tar that are coming in with the tide.

There are several lines on the sand by the shore that basically outline where the waves are hitting the beach.

I walked from 2nd Street to the pier and the entire beach had this outline of tar. The balls are gone – tho I did see a few small patches, about the size of a sunglasses lens – but now there are these lines in the sand.

At first, I wasn’t sure what it was so in the name of journalistic research I tested it by sticking a finger into it. And immediately wished I hadn’t, for it stuck to my finger and even got under the fingernail.

Definitely petroleum.

I’ll keep an eye on things here but I sure hope to see a lot more tan lines than tar lines on the beach this summer.

Active Summer Typhoon Season Predicted For Pacific Islands

El Niño Could Impact Philippines, Japan, Taiwan And China

Summer Pacific Typhoon Predictions 2015


A more active typhoon season than usual is expected for Pacific islands, including the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan and perhaps mainland China.

The reason is an El Niño condition that Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said “is forecast to strengthen over the summer.”

How strong El Niño becomes along with other anticipated factors will determine the severity of impacts on the weather across southern and eastern Asia. El Niño conditions usually lead to an above-average number of typhoons and super typhoons.

AccuWeather is estimating the number of tropical storms to be 29, three more than the normal of 26, with 17 typhoons (16 is the norm) and 17 super typhoons. The normal number of the latter is four.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Anthony Sagliani, “In addition to El Niño, we have warmer-than-average waters extending well north and west of the tropics in the Pacific, which will create lower atmospheric pressure and a favorable environment for tropical system formation.”

“In addition to the higher-than-average number of typhoons expected, we also anticipate more long-tracking typhoons, which will have a greater chance of being strong and impacting multiple land areas along their path,” Sagliani said.

Some of the typhoons will turn east of the Philippines and Japan.

However, because of the large amount of systems expected, a number of them could bring significant impact to the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan and perhaps mainland China, which involves the remnants of a tropical system causing major flooding.

Riding Bicycles Are One Of The Top Beach Activities

Bikes Are Part Of The Laidback Lifestyle, Especially In California

Bikes On The Strand Hermosa Beach
In Southern California, a bike path runs parallel to the beach.


Of all the fun things to do at the beach, one of the best is riding a bicycle.

It is such a “beachy” activity – moving at a patient pace, soaking up the scenery along the way, being able see things that are a blur in a car – that the two things go together like sand and ocean.

Nearly every beach city has bicycles for rent, and many hotels also have them available.

Bikes are particularly useful in California, where beach cities have paths that run parallel to the beaches.

In Southern California, this is called The Strand – and not a boardwalk, as In California beaches it’s The Strand not a boardwalk – and they are in every beach city from Santa Monica to San Diego.

In Hermosa Beach, you can even hire a tour guide to show you the houses, history, movie locations and favorite restaurants and bars through Beach Cities Bike Tours (e-mail toBeach Cities Bike Tours, or call 310-990-4020).

These paths are not as prevalent in other states or even countries (in the Greek Islands, you get around on a moped, which is an interesting and often lively way of seeing the islands.

In Siesta Key,, FL Daytona Beach and other hard-packed sand spots in Florida, you can actually ride bikes not on a path but the actually right on the beach.

The next time you’re on holiday at the beach, look into renting a bicycle for the day or even a week. You may never get in your car as a result.

The Story Of The Manhattan Beach El Porto Building & Missing Clock Hands

It Was Never A Local Landmark

El Porto Building Manhattan Beach, CA
Missing the hands of time at the corner of Rosecrans & Highland.


Ever since I moved to the South Bay and first discovered the northern section of Manhattan Beach, I have been curious about a place on the corner of Rosecrans and Highland.

It’s the El Porto Building and it’s signature feature is a clock tower (of sorts, it’s only two stories tall) that forever has been missing the hands on the clock.

For years I had wondered what the story behind it was, if this was some faded relic of a great location faded with time.

The fact that the hands have been missing off the clock for at least two decades has always perplexed me; after all, this is not exactly a run-down neighborhood. Just across the street a newly-opened upscale restaurant is serving Mexican food for $25.

Me, I’ll always opt for El Tarasco, which is just up from the mysterious El Porto Building.

Finally, curiosity got the best of me – as well as a few cocktails, I freely admit – and I asked three El Porto veterans who have been in El Porto since the time it was actually, well, El Porto.

I ran into them during Happy Hour at FishBar and asked about the building.

Turns out it was once a hardware store and was something of an eyesore.

Sometime in the early to mid-80s, it was purchased (ironically, by the person who just sold the house I had rented for years on 44th Street for some $6 million) when the clock tower was installed.

The building itself never really amounted to anything – it contains a  small sushi restaurant on the corner and has an upstairs tho I’m not sure what’s in it – and after about six months the clock stopped working.

Eventually, the owners just took off the hands because the clock was stopped. At 5 o’clock, I wondered, considering with the El Porto mentality, it’s always 5 o’clock.

I had always presumed that someone had gotten drunk coming out of Pancho’s and on their way to a late-night burrito at El Tarasco has somehow managed to get up there and removed the hands of time.

It sure would make for a better story than the danged thing just quit working!

When I asked if the building was ever a local landmark, all three veterans said the same thing all at once: “Oh NO, not at all.”

‘It was just a building,” one said.

And so it remains today.

Hermosa And Manhattan Beach Residents Unspoiled by Mysterious Oil Blobs

Just Another Beachin’ Day In The South Bay

Manhattan Beach to Hermosa Beach from the MB Pier.
People lay out on the sand at the Manhattan Beach Pier on a seemingly typical day.


They rode bikes and ran along The Strand, played volleyball and suntanned in the sand.

The only thing different were no surfers and swimmers in the Pacific Ocean.

And a few people in white suits sitting against a concrete wall at the Manhattan Beach Pier.

Otherwise, it was life as usual for the residents of the South Bay Beach Cities of Hermosa, Manhattan and Hermosa Beach. Just another beachin’ day.

All appears normal when it most indeed was not; by the shore were miles of little blobs of oil Manhattan Beachthat mysteriously showed up in Manhattan Beach, then started making their way south that caused the closure of the beaches (well, going into the water anyway) from South Redondo through Hermosa all the way to El Porto in north Manhattan Beach.

Residents seemed to shrug this off as if it didn’t even happen. Certainly, a full-blown oil leak or spill would send them into a frenzied response but for the most part, it didn’t effect them so they didn’t worry about it.

They were still going to do what they do everyday at the beach – run, ride, stroll and just hang out in the Southern California sunshine.

And that laid-back attitude makes for an incredibly calming existence.

Mysterious Oil Blobs In Manhattan Beach Move South To Hermosa & Redondo

Small Balls Of Petroleum Show Up In The South Bay

Manhattan Beach oil blobs
Crews clean up the mysterious oil blobs from the sand in Hermosa Beach, CA.


Their work completed in Manhattan Beach, cleanup crews now must move south and do the same in the neighboring Beach Cities.

Those mysterious oil blobs that suddenly appeared in Manhattan have now moved south to Hermosa Beach  and Redondo Beach.

And the ocean is off limits to from Torrance Beach to El Porto, a distance of some six miles of coastline.

I went out and checked all this out for myself and can report that as of Thursday afternoon there were no more cleanup crews in Manhattan Beach.

About the only remaining evidence of their appearance – and the oil – is a couple of big dempster dumpsters on The Strand and lots of TV trucks (at the lifeguard stand north of Marine Street, if you are curious).

Manhattan Beach oil blobs
Despite the beach being free of the blobs, the ocean remains off limits to surfers and swimmers.


Manhattan Beach oil blobs
The mysterious blobs are small; here seen from the Hermosa Beach Pier.

I did encounter workers in those white suits in Hermosa Beach at Longfellow.  Most of the blobs are so small you have to bend over and look closely to see them but what was really prominent was the smell. There was a definite petroleum smell.

This is the only place where I detected the smell. After riding my bike north to El Porto and stopping at the Manhattan Beach Pier – where a “Beaches Closed” sign was posted on the sand by the water – and back to Hermosa, the workers had cleared out of Longfellow Street.

There were, however, blobs at the Hermosa Beach Pier and also down at the south end of Hermosa.  While I didn’t personally check it out, I learned the blobs are also in Redondo Beach and down to “Rat Beach,” or Torrance Beach.

If this continues, the next beaches are the shores at the base of Palos Verdes. Then there are the huge ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Whether or not this is related to the Santa Barbara pipeline leak, I cannot say but I do know that oil blobs do occasionally appear here as natural seepage from the ocean floor.

I’ve just never known it to be over such a wide area and to move with the current.

At 2nd Street, I inspected some of the blobs up close. Most are about the size of a sunglasses lens. I kind of flicked at one with a flip flop, the way you do with a dead jellyfish that has washed up on the shore.

All that happened was that the sand stuck to it. So it’s definitely a blob of tar.

Let’s just hope that they go away as suddenly and as mysteriously as they appeared.

Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach Residents Unaffected By Mysterious Oil Blobs

Getting Back To The Beach A Relief After Driving In LA Traffic

Traveling From Standstill On A Freeway To Sunsets

Los Angeles rush hour traffic Harbor Freeway
Going from this, rush hour on the Harbor Freeway…


There is always a moment – usually when I exit the freeway – that I take a deep breath of relief and say “ahhh.”

Suddenly, the agony of the past hour (or more) has become a fading memory.  It was something I had to endure to get back to what I adore.

It happens each and every time I drive through L.A. traffic and return to the Beach Cities.

When I exit the freeway – usually the 405 – and hit the coast, I roll down the windows to feel the ocean breeze, It’s as calming as it is cooling.

The contrast between being inching along in traffic along clogged surface streets with ill-timed lights and sitting bumper-to-bumper on poorly designed freeways  “up there in L.A.,” and the relaxed attitude of the beaches is so dramatic it’s hard to believe you’re still in the same city.

Hermosa Beach sunless sunset
…to this, a rare “sunless sunset” in Hermosa Beach.

Arriving along the coast in of Hermosa, Manhattan or Redondo Beach is like arriving on vacation.

And that traffic back up in L.A., suddenly seems million miles away from my mind. The beach has that kind of calming effect on people, and especially on me.

Beach Lifestyle: The Ultimate Beach Bum's Blog