There is a place in the desert, far far down in southern California, where fish go to die.
This mythical oasis of abandonment is The Salton Sea.
I fell in love with the sea in 2009 after hunting down rusty crusty locations in my new SoCal home of Los Angeles. Surprise, there aren't that many. If you're willing to drive though, there are lovely discoveries to be had! And so I set out to explore Mecca, Salton City, Niland and the surrounding areas.
The photos you see here are from my most recent excursion, April 2013. Leaving Los Angeles at 3:30am with a fellow photographer, we made our way south to catch the sunrise over the water. It was a spectacular event. We had the whole day ahead of us. Starting on the south side of the sea, we caught sunrise at the Marina and meandered still more south to the airport and random shacks.
This side of "town" used to be rich with abandoned scenery- what I most love to photograph- but has since been quite cleaned up. Seeing pretty much everything we needed to see on this side, we quickly made our way up and around to the north shore where our first stop was an abandoned house & surrounding overgrown yard.
You can still on occasion run into a surprise here and there. This empty trailer proved to be a sweet photo op with the dust covered office chair rolled into the doorway! Down the road a bit there was then an awesome yellow boat... on land of course. It could have been a scene out of Mad Max, trash strewn about with household objects everywhere. There it was, a scraggly tree, smack dab in the middle of it all with a speedboat resting up on its overgrown roots and fallen branches. Scored another random find.
Continuing along the north shore you come to the appropriately named North Shore Yacht Club that was newly constructed a year or two ago. It sits there sad and empty. Just before it though, you come across a very old school building with a very junior high feel to it- That would be the North Shore Coffee Club. Like a slice of life in the early eighties, it just sat there empty as well.
The marina for the yacht club had some of the stillest water on the sea. The skeletal bait shack sat on the lower level of the marina, sad and empty. Not a soul in sight. Being there made me think of the age old question: "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
Of course, no trip to the sea is complete without a stop at Bombay Beach. Since we were not staying for sunset, the view was just a bit ordinary. 95% of the trailers and random bits that littered the beach were cleaned away. Nothing but a van of tourists touting cameras and sunscreen was of interest. So from there we continued on to the last stop. The Niland Marina with it's lonely shacks.
This pretty much made the trip worth it for me. The dry lake bed surrounding this little shack which I'm pretty sure was a bathroom, was the highlight for me. Well that and the yellow shipwreck. This little shack was just one of a handful. The others were located much closer to the edge of the sea. This one was left behind, out in the wild. The holes from the toilets could still be seen even though the stalls were full of garbage. From afar though, they could be marvelous decrepit cottages. And I loved them. From there we made our way back north to Palm Springs to spend late afternoon and evening drenched in colorful vistas and cool poolside relaxing.
The best of both worlds.