Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Salton Sea, an Olfactory Experience

This past Monday, I took out-of-town visitors to the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea is a large sea that has come and gone over the millennium. The ongoing evaporation leaves mineral and salt deposits, which now makes the Salton Sea 30% saltier than the oceans.

From a distance the Salton Sea is a hauntingly beautiful place. The sea is a major migratory stop over for birds, which makes the area a major bird watching site. There were thousands of birds on and around the water when we were there yesterday. It felt strange to see White Pelicans flying over the waters hundreds of miles from the ocean.

There is an abundance of Tilapia fish, which breed profusely and are an important food source for birds. Several times a year, sediments from the Sea bottom are stirred up causing chemical reactions, which cause the tilapia to suffocate and die of by the millions. Or the excessive fertilizers in the sea from surrounding farmlands cause an algae bloom again suffocating the fish. A very small portion of the Tilapia population dies off; the vast majority survives.

Up close, the Sea is difficult. You smell the salt in the Sea and taste the salt in the air. Sun dried dead fish litter the shore adding to the olfactory assault. In the summer, when temperature can reach 120F, the stench is unbearable.

The Salton Sea is not for the faint of heart. Judging by the number of camp grounds, RV parking area, picnic areas, large parking lots and marinas, many tourists obviously enjoy the Sea. Athough I didn’t see one boat on the lake which added to it’s haunting beauty.

I took pictures. I always take pictures. When I uploaded them into my Mac, I was shocked at the results. Many of them are hauntingly beautiful! Even photos of the dried fish have their own beauty. I realized that without the stench of rotting fish, bird dung and salt, the place is quite lovely.

I left the Salton Sea with mixed feelings. I was disgusted and amazed both at the same time. I will have to make other visits to the Sea to explore more of its vast shore. But NOT in the summer heat!

The Sea is a study in monochromatic landscape. The salt and sun bleaches color from most everything; it is a landscape in hues of white. Without smell, its quite another experience altogether!

Please take time to visit my website at www.JerryLHanson.com. Take a look at my artwork. Contact me if you want to buy one of my works or if you have any questions about a specific piece. My contact information is on my website or you can leave a comment on this blog site for me to contact you (include your contact info!). You can e-mail me at JerryL@JerryLHanson.com or you can telephone me on my studio phone 760-992-3157. You can call me. I won’t mind.

Thank you for listening

Jerry L. Hanson

No comments:

Post a Comment