the salton sea

Basic history of the Salton Sea:

In 1905, this lake was formed by accident.  The Colorado River flooded, and the water was diverted here.  The Salton Sea is larger than Lake Tahoe, making it the largest in the state.  Because the water only leaves by evaporation, it became a salt water lake; and is in fact saltier than the ocean (25% higher salinity).  All of the fish that are in the lake, were introduced.  Nothing came naturally, so things have gone wrong.  There’ve been massive fish & bird die-offs due to the salinity and also due to pesticides/residue that were introduced (those came from the farming areas that used the lake for irrigation), and also from algae growth.  The Sea is toxic.  

Today I visited the Salton Sea.  I had researched enough that I knew what I was walking into, but I was unsure about how I would feel once there.  The few times I went to the slaughterhouse in Brentwood alone, I would feel a bit uneasy/creeped out.  I felt perfectly safe today, except for a few encounters I had with animals.  The overall feeling I had during my time exploring, was sadness.

When I was standing at the waters edge, I could see why people flocked here.  It is beautiful, when you think of how it was in it’s glory days.  I could image the families sitting at the beach, kids swimming & playing in the water.  The ruins of the homes isn’t what really got to me; it was when I stood at the water.  The beach is made up of fish bones…completely.  There are so many dead fish lining the water…there has to be millions around the whole lake.  Plus it is VERY quiet…there are still people living here, but I only saw a couple residents outside.  It’s very post-apocalyptic.

I stopped at a few places around the Sea.  Salton Sea Beach, Salton City, Niland, & Bombay Beach.  Most people recommend Bombay Beach, but I found Salton Sea Beach had the most obvious abandoned places.  It’s surprising that some homes you really can’t tell if it’s housing anyone or not.  If I had any question, I didn’t go near it.  So I found Salton Sea Beach had more for me to photograph.

This is the beach: 100% bones

In many cases, it looks like the people left in a hurry.  You’ll see a random shoe, tv, chair, brush, toy, etc…sitting around.  There were numerous 8-tracks sitting around a trailer.  There is a documentary available on Netflix called “Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea” which I plan on watching.  I’d like to learn more, and I’m interested in hearing the stories of people who chose to stay there.


2 thoughts on “the salton sea

  1. The crazies picture is the bones on the beach, that must have been wild to see in person. Very creepy to see that many bones scattered in one place.

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