Invisible Beach: The Mystery of The Tags Is Solved

By John Vonderlin

So, while I now knew where the tags had come from, I didn’t understand why they continued to show up over such a long time.

Had they been floating around out there all this time, with a few occasionally being washed ashore at this beach? That seemed unlikely. It was only when we noticed that at the far northern stretch of the beach, just above the gravel bank that had the colorful pebbles in it, that there was a sizable pile of wrack mixed with gravel and sand, that things started to come clear.

Wrack is seaweed pulled loose from its mooring and piled high on the beach by storms or the high tide wave action. In the top layer of the wrack we found a few partially concealed tags, as well as other litter. Digging around we found a few more.

A light bulb went off,

It seemed fairly obvious that the tags had floated in, become buried in the wrack and gravel pile, then as high tide wave action had eaten at the pile over the weeks, the tags that had been buried were being intermittently released, to eventually move further south, where we had been finding them. We considered the mystery solved.

I’ve attached photos of my collection of tags, mainly gathered from Invisible Beach. Some however were subsequently found as far south as Bradley Beach, at the Santa Cruz/San Mateo County line. The next picture is of the last one found nearly two years later, far to the north at Tunitas Beach.


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