Green Palette: It Is Always Ourselves We Find In The Sea

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For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.

– e.e. cummings


Last week a good friend and I drove down to the Coachella Valley in Southern California to shoot at Salton Sea (yup. We basically drove to Mexico), searching out the incredible dunes and breath taking sea.  The ride down to Coachella always gets me: the beautiful acres of windmills and mountains just expand for ever in this super surreal way, powering these little towns and bigger valleys.

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The history of the Salton Sea is fascinating and the views there are spectacular.

The lake’s salinity of about 44 g/L, is greater than that of the waters of the Pacific Ocean (35 g/L), but less than that of the Great Salt Lake (which ranges from 50 to 270 g/L). The concentration increases by about 1 percent annually.  What this means is that the wildlife there die off rapidly and in unimaginable numbers.  It wasn’t long before I realized that the entirety of the sand is made of fish bones from fish who have died there in large, large amounts.   By the 1960s it was apparent that the salinity of the Salton Sea was rising, jeopardizing some of the species in it. The Salton Sea has a salinity exceeding 4.0%  (saltier than seawater) and many species of fish can no longer survive. It is believed that once the salinity surpasses 4.4%, only the tilapia will survive.

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^ basically, if seeing this every 2 steps doesn’t gross you out, it’d be a perfect place to chill.

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It barely held us during certain parts of our excursion and made me wary, to say the least.  But I was wholly fascinated, and managed to pick up some fish bones & little trinkets for home, of course.

The other fascinating part to me was the town: mostly abandoned due to what seems like the effects of intense and prolonged dead fish odor exposure.  There are abandoned trailers, abandoned hand made wooden little homes and graffiti on just about everything.  TV’s from the 50’s, REDRUM on the walls – really inviting stuff.


So of course I had to climb in and all over everything and take some photos.








Mission accomplished!  We found both the sea and the dunes! 🙂 It was a really beautiful, fascinating day.  I feel like I learned so much and it was so gorgeous outside.  I am super grateful for all this lovely January weather Southern California is having!

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