Joshua Tree / Mojave Desert Photo Tour - April 24th “Sultan Sea”

April 25, 2013 at 8:23 AM

Wow what an experience today.  We started the day visiting Bombay Beach, which is mostly an abandon town located along the Sultan Sea shore.  30 years ago this was a thriving region, with folk coming to this region to enjoy the warm weather and the salt water of the lake.  What they did not realized is that the salt content is 15% greater than that of the oceans, combined with the land locked waterway erosion happens very quickly.  People walked away from everything.  There are only a handful of people living in Bombay Beach today.  The conditions are not nice, and there is a heavy smell to the air.  That all said, it was a great place for photography, and we enjoyed the experience.

While in the Sultan Sea region we also visited the Sonny Bono Wildlife reserve and the surrounding geo thermal electrical plants.  The wildlife reserve hosts many bird species and other wildlife.  The ranger showed us an image he took earlier this morning of a coyote just outside the station.

We then checked out the geo thermal electrical plants which surround one side of the lake.  They only have to drill 2 miles down to reach the red hot magma beds.  They pump water into the wells then harvest the steam to run the turbines.  Then recycle the water into the wells to do it all over again.  We have seen many alternative energy processes since we arrived in California.

We also notice quite a bit of customs and border guard activity and check points as we traveled around the Sultan Sea today.  You will notice an image below showing there are only two freeways that run around the lake from Mexico.  We were 40 miles from the border when at the wildlife reserve.

Enjoy the very interesting images from today’s shoot.  Tomorrow we are in Morongo Valley in the morning, then on to Joshua Tree National Park for our last day of photography.

Welcome to Bombay Beach ... a forgotten place on the Sultan Sea


Salt encrusted wharf ... or what’s left of it.  A most interesting experience.


Yep that is a dried fish.


You will be surprised at what you encounter along the salty shoreline.

The rest of the office is gone!!!!


The salt eventually covers everything along the shore.

You can’t walk 20 feet without encountering fish bones.  Makes for great photos ...


What’s left of the pier, again crusted with salt.


This old crane was just left close by the shore.


Another view of the old crane.


Parts of buildings, house trailers and frame work of old shops are all that is left, thanks to the heavy salt.


This old house trailer is almost gone.

More frame work.  All of this was too close to the water.


In most of the properties that have framework left, you can still find some furniture.


Mostly foundations with parts of plumbing sticking out of the ground is all that’s left..


An HDR shot with some vivid colour for effect.


Quote on a rock within the rubble of an old brick hotel.


Pelicans are everywhere along the shoreline.  The extra salt in the water and air does not bother the birds


If you walk about one block from the shoreline you cross a manmade dirt pile stretching the length of the shoreline, you then encounter more decay.  Most of the trailers and mobile homes are now empty.


As if one day no one came back.  Everything was just left behind.


This VHS tape was on an old door in front of an empty trailer.  The label says “ A free offer that may improve your lifestyle”  then they left!


Block after block of life left behind.


Nothing like some lawn furniture.


The house trailer on this lot is slowing disappearing.  The air here is so hard on everything.


Fireside Lounge.  Come sit a spell.


This is one of five geo thermal plant energy plants near the Sony Bono wildlife reserve.

This little guy getting a drink near the ranger’s station.


We kept passing US Customs and Border Officers and their vehicles.  When you look at this map of the Sultan Sea, we were at the nature reserve by the yellow arrow.  The Mexico border was only 40 miles away.


A night hawk in the tree above us.


A dove sitting on her nest.


This barn owl was nested within a large palm tree.


Another Geo Thermal plant with an onion field in the foreground.  Many fresh fruits and vegetables are grown in this region.


We are now at the opposite side of the Sultan Sea, we circled the entire waterway today.


An old building foundation.  There was no one around as we explored this area.  Many birds can be found as you walk the shoreline.  There is a pungent smell in the air when you are close to the water.


Another view of the lake, it is beautiful in a strange way.


A heron close to the shoreline.


Pelicans, cormorants and herons there was so many birds.


Another heron.


Heron in flight.


Another shot of the heron as he flew past all the other birds.


Well that’s a wrap on today’s experience along the Sultan Sea.  Tomorrow morning we will be visiting Morongo Canyon for some bird photography then back to Joshua Tree National Park to visit Hidden Valley and Barker Dam.  Good night from Palm Desert, California.


Please add a comment

Posted by Gail on
Great pics!
Loved the heron with wings spread!
Looked like he was conducting the orchestra!
Posted by Jerry on
Very interesting photographs, with great images of the various birds that reside in the area. All of the abandoned buildings and other items make for some neat photographs.
Well done and enjoy the rest of your venture.
Posted by Ruth on
Love the birds! Very cool.
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