Early this morning when CA State Park rangers checked conditions in their various parks, they discovered that a portion of the pier at Gaviota was gone. Ranger Dustin Patterson estimated that about one-quarter of the pier had been demolished. The structure now ends at the location of the boat hoist, often used to launch fishing and Hollister Ranch surf boats.
“We are especially concerned about the low tide that is now coming in,” Ranger Patterson told me. “Once the level drops enough the surf will start pounding the outer pilings with more force than when the waves broke further onshore.” As we talked I could see several large beams near the boat hoist being knocked back and forth by the waves. It is possible by morning that more of the pier may be gone.
Patterson also notes that the damage along the coast isn’t limited just to our area. He is hearing reports of damage to the Pismo pier and others nearby. Coastal roadways along the Los Angeles area beaches also are getting hit hard, with some damage to roadways in the Malibu area.
Not only historic structures like the Gaviota Pier are being affected by the huge waves, coming in waves after wave at from 10-to-15 feet in height. The beach at Gaviota, recently smooth sand, is now large cobblestones and bedrock. When asked how quickly this happened, Patterson replied, “overnight.”
As I traveled back to Santa Barbara at every spot I could see the ocean there were long lines of waves coming in one after the other, from Gaviota to Haskells Beach. For those of us who love walking the beaches, it appears we could wake up tomorrow for a coastline stretching from Gaviota to Rincon Point that is completely different.