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January 31, 2018

Super Blue Blood-Red Moon

The January Blue Moon is a Super Moon as the moon is at perigee, its orbit remains close to the earth.  If I don’t get to see this, the next Super Blue Blood Moon I can see from home will be in 177 years!  Now that’s something to live for!

The night started out with some pretty thick cloud cover, did clear in time for the big event.  The bright lights to the left in the second photo are that of a slow moving dredge working its way through Mission Bay.
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The picture on the right was taken with my Panasonic, all my other pictures are taken with an old Canon G5.
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Some friends will be meeting at Torrey Pines State Beach to view the event.  I did think about driving up to the Sunset Seat above the beach and join them.  This has to be one of the most unique views of the ocean.   The seat is carved from a Torrey Pine that succumbed to the engraver beetle.

Here are some pictures I have of Sunset Seat in the Del Mar Preserve above the beach and the connection to the beach below.  The views are stunning.
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An easy trail leads to the beach below the overpass.
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Torrey Pies Beach is popular with surfers, walkers and joggers.  It connects to the Torrey Pines State Preserve or Blacks Beach to the south.
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January 28, 2018

Tide Pools in Pacific Beach

The Point Loma Tide Pools are certainly the most famous tide pools in San Diego.  Others folks have often blogged them, so on this beautiful January day with a decent low tide I thought I’d pick one of the lesser known tide pools that is closer to home.  Looking north from Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach is False Point in La Jolla, that’s today’s destination ~3mi RT.
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There is ample access to the beach from street parking including False Point that would eliminate the beach walk. 
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But the walk is easy, and it’s fun to watch the beach activities.  The kids were having a ball skim-boarding.  Before the boards were popular we made our own out of round disks of plywood and threw them like big Frisbees.  The kids are getting longer rides with the commercial boards.
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Tourmaline Surfing Park has a small parking lot with restrooms and showers.  The surfers come and go and there is often parking available here mid-week. 
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The tide pools are just north of the surfing beach within a sandstone and boulder field.  As with most tide pools the rocks will be slippery and may have barnacles, wear shoes/sandals with a good grip.
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I'm not sure what these sea worms are but they can be found in abundance.  Looks like spaghetti to me.
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At False Point there is a staircase to provide direct access to the pools.  Still this area is seldom crowded and timed right will have a fabulous sunset.
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The sea hare is quite abundant here, more so than Point Loma.  Depending on its diet the hare can be black, green or pink.  It’s not a rock, don’t step on it!
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I’ve heard these critters are called tube snails or tube worms.  I like snail better since there is a hard shell.  Just like their more common sea snail cousins.
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Not all sea snail shells are occupied by the snail, there are a lot of hermit crabs here too.
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There is some interesting uplift in cliff faces along the beach.  And what is left of a pillar that was once part of the cliff wall.  I’m certainly not a geologist, but would like to wander out here with one …
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The Birch Aquarium has publiished this list of Tide Pool Tips.

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The Super Blue Blood Moon will be visible Wednesday, if the marine layer permits.

January 26, 2018

Prepping for Solar - at the Beach House

When Fran’s brother, Bobby, had the beach house built it was indeed wired.  The wire was layered within the bricks to where it needed to go – kitchen, bath, etc.  However, it was all basically one wire without a circuit breaker panel.  When a short would occur anywhere the entire ‘grid’ of the ‘off-grid’ would be shut down.

And shorts were pretty common.  The wires are twisted together, when it was needed to splice, then taped and laid into the bricks.  After nearly 20 years of replacing segments and making patches it finally occurred – a short that refused to be isolated.  To isolate the shorts we would fire up the generator and let it melt down the wire, it was easy to find what wasn’t working and jumper it to something that was working.

This past Shrimp Fest that did not work, in fact it was the generator that would trip its 30 amp breaker.  We came to the conclusion that it had to be under the slab and not the in the walls.  It was time to replace the supply wires.  We’ll leave the load wires in the walls for now.

Armed with a 12 position panel and 500 feet of 14/2 Romex the goal of this past trip was simply to route the wires and terminate them on a future trip.  The Mexican version of 14/2 Romex is gray/orange/black much different than the US white/black/ground.  Since Mexican home may not use grounding the Romex provides 2 hot wires and a return.  No surprise there are no grounded sockets at the beach house.  This project will take a bit of thinking outside the ‘junction box’.
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I only finished 9 of the 12 circuits, there’s still an out let in the kitchen and the bathroom to go.  But with about a 100’ of Romex left, it was a good place to stop on this trip.  I mounted the box upside-down to allow the inverter to connect to the main breaker at the bottom.  Next trip I’ll make the last runs and do a bit of cleanup of the wires inside the panel.
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I suspect we have another 5 years before erosion takes the house.  On last day Fran and I hoped on the quad to cruise the beach and see what others are doing to keep the Sea of Cortez at bay and protect their homes  A couple homes have been leveled and the ruble used to add to the sea wall.
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A few folks are still living in homes that have been partially taken and fighting the erosion on their own.
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That’s the Beach House in the distance.  Last one on the beach.
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These folks have banded together to add a substantial rock pile to protect their homes.  This may very well do the job, but what’s the point of a beach house without a beach?
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Despite the commotion a couple of osprey adolescents are sticking to the nest.
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Many of the blogs I read are showing positively stunning sunset pictures from the desert southwest.  The sunset is early at the beach with the Sierra de San Pedro Martir in the way.   The sunsets are really pretty lame.  I do wish I had a better way to show the spectacular night sky, it is an experience on a moonless night.
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But the sunrise is spectatular and the morning sun on those same mountains gives promise to a new day.
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In a colorful protest against the ‘Trump Wall’, artist Enrique Chiu has organized the painting of friendship murals on the Mexican side of the existing border fence.  I’ve admired these murals in Tijuana and Tecate.  It’s nice to see Mexicali has also displayed the spirit.
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A word of caution – when returning to the US in an RV use the Calexico East crossing!  Calexico West will be a very tight squeeze for this 5th wheel.  BTW - at Calexico West the right lane is usually a little faster – shhh, don’t tell anyone! 
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A good question is after putting up the poor electrical for 20 years and with perhaps only 5 years before losing the battle with erosion – why bother with electrical now.  The Beach House is Bobby’s ‘happy place’ and as his Parkinson’s progresses he should be able to enjoy it, not cuss at the next inconvenience from it.