I’m not sure when I first heard of the grunion runs (it might have been 90210 or Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead), but in the nine years I’ve lived in southern California, I had yet to actually witness one. That changed this weekend.
Some friends and I headed to the beach at around 11. I had checked the schedule, and really sold the activity. It was the fourth of the four nights, which isn’t considered a peak, but I had faith the little fishies wouldn’t let us down, and they didn’t.
There we were, walking along the water, a group of six of us, at night – which is different than being on the beach during the day. When I lived in San Diego, I would go to the beach with a bf and a bottle of wine (totally illegal, don’t do it)…especially when phosphoresence/bioluminescene/magnificence was happening. But now I live a good little drive away from the beach, so I don’t usually find myself hanging out on the sand after sunset.
So there we were walking through the surf, laughing and carrying on, when someone spotted the first glint of silver. We were armed with flashlights and headlamps, but camera-wise, all I had was my iPhone. I won’t subject you to the awfulness of my commentary in the video I shot, but will instead show you this video, which basically mirrors our experience.
It was crazy! There are all these little silver fish flopping around on the sand, and they lay eggs in holes and then like three of them pop out of the holes. (Scandalous!) Then they flop back to meet the surf. We rescued a few that had slight issues, but for the most part, we just watched nature happen. And it was pretty awesome.
And you’re running back and forth to avoid the tide, and your pants are getting wet, and you’re squealing, and laughing. I love any activity that makes you feel like a kid again.
After we walked for about an hour, Katie brought out the sparklers. Yessss. We danced around. More laughing. Someone nearby set off a couple of bigger fireworks. It was surreally fun, and so awesome.
We walked some more, until we reached the pier and some other grunion hunters. We directed them north, where we had had such good luck, and then headed to the bars.
It’s true you have to have your fishing license to catch and/or play with the grunion. I have mine, but we didn’t keep any. I’ve been told they’re super bony, which would require quite the number of them (and a lot of work!) to make a meal, and I wasn’t really interested in all that. Instead, we dared each other to eat one raw, but nobody took that challenge.
Dear nature, love you mean it.