When I was a kid of eight or nine years, one of my fondest memories was night fishing with my dad on the Salton Sea. I’d be walking home from school, I know, we actually walked to and from school back then, and as I turned the corner for home I would see my father packing up the rambler and hooking up the boat, and I’d break into a run knowing the family would be headed for the beautiful Salton Sea by nightfall.
One of my dad’s buddies would hook him up with a room in Bombay Beach and we would hang out at the beach club and water ski all day. The day always ended with a family dinner, be it barbecue on the beach, or sit down at the Yacht Club. After dinner my sisters would go with my mom to do what ever it is women did back then, while me being a man, would do what men do, fish, on the Sea, at night, in the dark, with my dad.
It was great! My dad taught me about stars and the constellations. We would have discussions about currents and drift, but mostly we would just fish, and catch fish we did, lots of fish. Corvina mostly, but sargo and croaker as well. Those were some memories, just me and my dad, out fishing in the moonlight, on the beautiful Salton Sea. See where I’m going with this?
I recently drove out to the south-eastern shore of the Salton Sea. I was headed to a little town called Niland, home of the mud volcanoes. Why, you might ask? Well, I saw a special about them on one of the cable networks and decided to investigate for myself. Besides, I hadn’t been out to the eastern shore of the Sea in over 50 years.
Well I’m here to tell you, the old Sea ain’t what it used to be. It’s dirty and smelly. The salt content is so high that very few fish can survive the brine, and the beautiful resorts that once thrived with activity? Well, they’re either completely gone, or left to rot on the shores of the beautiful Salton Sea.
At least I have the memories.