"Grunion run" may sound like some sort of new 10K or theme park ride, but to friends of the marine world, it only means one thing: that fish -- fish! -- are coming ashore to do what comes naturally.
Every year between March and August, beautiful, silvery be-scale'd creatures shimmy up onto the beaches of SoCal and Baja California to lay eggs, throw down some milt (the male's gig), and keep the grunion lines going and the circle of life intact. And the runs happen like clockwork, though, of course, no tiny wristwatches are spied on any of the fishy fins; rather, the new and full moons predict when these twisty denizens of the sea will venture onto terra firma to propagate the species.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium hosts a handful of popular "Meet the Grunion" nights throughout the spring and summer. Observers of the human variety excitedly line the beach late at night to see the spawners -- that would be the grunion, aka the leuresthes tenuis -- do their thing. It should be noted that while catching the grunion is permitted during certain times of the year, March is not that time, nor is April, so expect to just stand back and watch.
Grunion-themed events at Cabrillo happen only a couple of times a month, during only a few months of the year, so bet that the fans of fishdom are stoked. Maybe, shall we say, they are happy as clams? Oh, we went there.
The "Meet the Grunion" for March takes place at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium today, Thursday, March 12, from 10:55PM to 12:55AM -- late. The cost is $5 for adults, $1 children and seniors.
Dress warmly, dig out a flashlight, and arrive early at the aquarium for the info seminar at 9PM. Most of all, expect to be dazzled by quite a spectacular sight. If you've been feeling like wonder is in short supply these days, you clearly need a dose of some grunion-y goodness asap.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro