When my friends moved into their new beach-front home at Las Gardinias de Capaes in Sept 2012, they were surprised to discover the pristine beach they had seen two months before, when they bought the place, had become a pile of jumbled boulders. Although the rocks are interesting and fun to walk over, their presence was a mystery. Locals told them, those rocks always come at this time of year, as though they simply move there on their own!
Over the coming months they discovered the rocks do indeed move. The ocean is so powerful, that overnight some rocks change position. In quite dramatic ways. A rock weighing 300 or 400 lbs, might be flat one day, and upright the next. But it doesn’t explain how hundreds of rocks, weighing anything from a few hundred pounds up to several tonnes, could migrate there in a few weeks.
Yesterday, I walked the beach in front of the Cuidadella de Los Capaes, and found the contours of the beach had changed dramatically, since only two weeks before. Instead of a typical 3-6% gradient into the ocean, the incline was now much steeper. Maybe 15%. Tons of sand had eroded from the beach for at least 500 meters to the south. Almost up to the Farallon Dillon museum.
In the past two weeks, it has rained a lot, and it has been a little stormy. The ocean has had big swells with good clean waves for surfing between the Farallon Dillon and Los Capaes.
Then, I walked for 500 meters in the other direction, toward my friends at Las Gardinias de Capaes. Lo and behold, there was the sand. Almost all of the rocks that had been there since Sept, had vanished. Or rather, they were now completely covered in sand. Where before, we had to climb over rock after rock, it was now just sand with the occasional rock peeking out.
Presumably, this was the missing sand from in front of Los Capaes, and I expect it will return, sometime next fall!