Touring Ocean Beach Park-Lompoc, CA

Ocean Beach Park Lompoc featured image

Did I ever mention that my husband is originally from Lompoc? It is an inside joke between us- a small-town boy meeting a city girl. So, where is Lompoc, which is pronounced LOM-poke? Located 268 miles northwest of San Diego, Lompoc is often referred to as the flower seed capital of the world. The town was established in 1888 and is located in Santa Barbara County on the Central Coast of California. It is a small agricultural town that the Vandenberg Airforce Base surrounds. I informed my husband that if we were to visit,  my one desire was to go to the ocean. So we went to Ocean Beach Park in Lompoc, CA, and I am here to share.

Why Lompoc?

Lompoc Map central southern california

A little back story-We just celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary this past July 4, so we decided to go to Las Vegas to commemorate the joyous occasion.

It was nice to revisit where we were married (Treasure Island) and reminisce. On a side note, it was not pleasant to go to Las Vegas during Quarantine in 2020, but that is not what this post is about, so I digress.

After we were done with the ridiculous heat of Nevada (100 degrees plus), we headed northwest for six hours to see family in  Lompoc. As a rule, it is almost always chilly and overcast there. And to say that I was looking forward to not being so hot is an understatement!

Noting that we were only in town for less than a day, I thought having the family meet us over at Ocean Beach Park for a pizza picnic would be an outstanding idea.

It was perfect timing without even knowing just how lucky we were. If this had been any other time before 2020, we would not have been able to enter Ocean Beach Park.

More on this later.

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San Diego Shark Sightings

San Diego Shark Sightings Featured Image

Seeing how I have been homebound during this unprecedented Worldwide Lockdown (I am sure you can relate), I had the time to do some shark research. I have always wondered how often sharks are seen off the coast of San Diego. Through the years, I have heard rumors, but seeing that I had a bunch of time on my hands, I set out to find all I could about San Diego shark sightings and encounters that happened off the coastline.

Sharks have fascinated me since I was a little girl, and my first scientific report was on the hammerhead shark in fourth grade.

hammerhead shark san diego shark sightings

Something so powerful and alluring about sharks tugging deep at your primal soul. The coldness of the eyes and the methodic tail movements that propel them through the water always capture my attention and imagination. I mean, the fact that sharks have been around for over 400 million years blows me away!

But I digress.

My mind was running wild while reading the fascinating shark encounter reports. It was a welcome reprieve to escape the world’s chaos.

So, why not document the various shark sightings/ encounters in San Diego County, beach by beach?  It would make for a great addition to my website, as well as for my curiosity.  

Sad News From Santa Cruz, California

While writing this article, something truly tragic happened off the coast of Northern California at 1:30  pm on May 11.

On the northern end of Monterey Bay, Ben Kelly, 26 years old, was attacked and killed by a shark while surfing. The tragedy occurred 100 yards  (91 meters) from the shore of Sand Dollar Beach at Manresa State Beach, Santa Cruz.

Kelly was surfing with a friend, who said they could swim back to shore but could not stop the bleeding.

Experts also noted that this area is notorious for juvenile great white shark sightings and is called “Shark Park.”

But a juvenile did not attack Ben, as experts reported the shark to have been larger than 10 feet.

What Types of Sharks Are Found off the Coast of San Diego County?

Surfing Terramar San Diego Shark Sightings
Terramar Beach

Before I get into all the critical shark sighting data I have uncovered, I thought I would first make a list of possible sharks seen in and around San Diego waters.

To go one step further, I have separated them into Coastal and Pelagic groups.  Down below are the definitions given to simplify the difference between the two.

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The Megamouth Shark- A New Species

Megachasma pelagios featured image

I thought I would post something different today! While cleaning up the other day, I found a few of my college reports and had a fabulous time reminiscing the good old days when all I would think about day in and day out was Marine Biology. I remember distinctly writing this paper and visiting the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles to photograph the Catalina megamouth shark specimen.

To make things a bit easier to read, I have broken up the body of my report to make it flow better. Anyone familiar with Scientific Papers can be a bit chunky, so I hope this helps.

When I was composing this report, only four megamouth sharks were ever seen. Over 30 years, 58 more can be added to that list. So please remember while you are reading this that scientifically this paper doesn’t hold much credence due to its age.

But,  most of the information is still very relevant, especially the morphology. Have fun, and check out the end, as I will be listing all megamouth sharks that have been observed so far.

Introduction- Megachasma pelagios,  Family Megachasmidae

megamouth shark hawaiian specimen
Figure 1- Hawaiian specimen caught off of Oahu, Nov. 15, 1976

A rare and startling discovery occurred on November 15, 1976, off Oahu, Hawaii. A U.S. Navy research vessel had its anchor down at about 165 m depth and had a strange 4.5 m adult male shark attached.

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