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Salton Sea, California

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The Beauty of Decay: The Salton Sea Niland California United States
Taking Flight over the Salton Sea Niland California United States
Death at the Salton Sea Niland California United States
The Beauty of Decay: The Salton Sea Niland California United States
Taking Flight over the Salton Sea Niland California United States
Death at the Salton Sea Niland California United States

The Beauty of Decay: The Salton Sea

Part ghost town, part snowbird retreat, the Salton Sea is a decaying paradise just west of Anza-Borrego Desert in Imperial County. Developed as a resort community in the late 1950s, the Salton Sea drew its fair share of celebrities, including The Rat Pack and The Beach Boys, before its untimely demise in the 1970s due to rising sea and salinity levels. Developers abandoned once budding and/or uncompleted shoreline communities, and recreational activities diminished.

Despite being California’s largest lake and having a salinity level higher than the Pacific Ocean, the Salton Sea is rarely used for water activities or boating, mainly due to confusion about sea pollution levels. Today it’s more popular with bird watchers more than 400 species have been documented in the area and photographers drawn to the post-apocalyptic feel of the once flourishing resort communities—Salton Sea City, Bombay Beach, North Shore—situated along the sea’s salt-encrusted shoreline.

Life in Bombay Beach is basically dead. Among the pebbles are the numerous bodies of dead and decaying wildlife. The stench, especially in the summer is out of control. Yet I love the Salton Sea.

All that aside this place strange, repulsive and beautiful at the same time.

It's a place where time has stopped and being there for a quick visit is like visiting another world.

The photo ops are endless.

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over 5 years ago

Taking Flight over the Salton Sea

The Salton Sea has some amazing spots for bird watching. Here, off of the abandoned Salton Sea Marina site, was a large number of birds (I'm not sure what species). They flew all together and were very responsive to the slightest motion by me, despite my being over 100 yards away. To make the scenery more dramatic are salt encrusted pilings and other things along the shore.
about 5 years ago

Death at the Salton Sea

This past summer, my husband and I took a road trip to Bombay Beach on the shores of the Salton Sea. Although it may sound like it, Bombay Beach is definitely not a beach resort. Instead, the fenced in community is full of ramshackle, abandoned homes in unlivable condition.

If there are people living in the community, they certainly have prime views of the Salton Sea, a drainage-free rift lake that’s below sea level. Sitting on the San Andreas Fault, the Salton Sea is not a good place to be if there’s a sudden earthquake. Yet, this is California’s largest lake, and its annually increasing salt content is higher than the Pacific Ocean’s.

So it’s no wonder that not many fish species can stay alive to save their lives in these waters. As we got out of the car and walked closer to the shores of the lake, we were assaulted with a pungent odor. As we walked onto the rocky sand, we found ourselves surrounded by mounds of dried salt, bird bones, and fish carcasses.

Throughout our time exploring this part of the Colorado Desert, it seemed that no matter which direction we looked, we were surrounded by death. And death literally washed up to our feet to greet us on the lake’s shores.