We visited our third pier this week, The Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in Long Beach. Safely tucked behind the breakwater at length of 1,620 feet, it ties for 8th longest pier in California with the Ventura County Pier. Built in 1966 with concrete pilings it’s construction and location will probably keep this one safe despite its length.
This is my “home town” pier, but I rarely visit it. A "Y" shaped pier it ends with two branches stretching out and to the sides, allowing more space for seaward views and casting. While the Belmont Brewing Company sits at its base, the restaurant and boutique laden Belmont Shores are blocks to the north. One wonders if tearing down the breakwater and letting the waves roll through would make it a more attractive destination – though of course more vulnerable to El Niño.
While piers will always attract fisherman, this pier feels more like a fisherman’s pier, complete with moorings and a dock. During summer months one can catch the AquaLink water taxi here, and visit other sights in the harbor like the Queen Mary, or Shoreline village.
Like other piers, the is a restaurant space at it’s end. Signage announces “Buoy’s on the Pier,” but it last Yelp review was written in June of 2012. Apparently the space can still be rented for weddings or private events, but as a public venue it seems those days are gone for now.
The pier does afford nice views of the "Astronaut" Islands in Long Beach Harbor. Man-made oil platforms close to shore, they were designed and decorated to appear as resort destinations, landscaped, illuminated, complete with waterfalls. They used miniature plants and forced perspective to create the illusion that they were farther off to sea than they really were. White, Grissom, Chaffee, were named for Astronauts that lost their lives in the Apollo 1 accident.
So that's a total of three piers visited so far, with no major storms in the horizon. However, for those following along, the Sea Surface Temperature for this year's El Niño sustained a record anomaly of +3.0° above average for the week. This breaks the record set in 1997 - the last big pier-destroying El Niño year. Time will tell if this data point correlates with more damaging storms in the coming year. In the meantime, I'll be visiting more piers.