Sunrise at South Bay Salt Works is a spectacle that’s hard to describe. The sun’s first rays tint the dunelike mounds of pure white salt with a golden glow, creating an effect that is otherworldly and strangely beautiful.
Yesterday as the sun cleared the horizon I approached South Bay Salt Works to experience the magic. I took many photographs!
Wikipedia has an extensive article about South Bay Salt Works, which is located near Chula Vista, in the tiny Fruitdale section of San Diego’s Otay Mesa-Nestor community. I was interested to learn it’s the second longest running business in San Diego after the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper. The salt factory began as La Punta Salt Company sometime before 1872.
Large evaporation ponds at the southern end of San Diego Bay are the source of the salt, but the water comes directly from the Pacific Ocean. South Bay Salt Works produces about 75,000 tons of salt every year from ponds that cover over a thousand acres. For decades is was the sole supplier of salt for Southern California.
Many migrating birds are attracted to the evaporation ponds. The salinity of the water supports an abundance of brine flies and brine shrimp. Today, even as salt harvesting operations continue, the ponds are officially part of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
I was once told by someone who knows a little about South Bay Salt Works that the salt is shipped from San Diego to places with freezing winters, where it’s used on roads and highways to melt the ice.
Enjoy these photographs!
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