Pirates Sublime The Salton Sea is a large body of water in the middle of the Colorado Desert, formed by a 1905 dam break of the Colorado River. At -234.5 feet below sea level, it is the largest lake in California. During WWII, Paul Tibbetts made practice flights dropping dummy bombs into the sea. In 1945, he dropped the first bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. After WWII, game fish were introduced and a state park was dedicated. The Sea was a popular vacation spot in the 50’s and 60’s. There were boat races, fish fries, RVs and all around partying that only an Inland California environment can inspire. In 1958, M. Penn Phillips Co., a subsidiary of Holly Corp., mapped out a community on the West Shore of Salton Sea, calling it Salton City. In 1960, North Shore Beach and Yacht Club Estates opened on North side of Sea. The waters’ salt levels kept rising, however, due to the agricultural runoff that fills the sea. In 1976 Tropical Storm Kathleen hit the Imperial Valley, flooding farmland and further increasing the level of the Salton Sea. Above average rainfall for the next seven years, along with increased agricultural runoff and increased river flows from Mexico, flooded shoreline resorts. Then, in 1977, Tropical Storm Doreen swept through Imperial Valley, the second “100 year storm” in two years. The development halted permanently. After the floods and the drought, miles of developed land, with electrical and sewage already piped in, became vacant lots—still for sale today. Driving around the sea, one sees the grand gates of an incomplete community. Street signs for intersections like 52nd Street and Golden Avenues are surrounded by Colorado Desert Sand. The Bombay Beach Marina is still flooded with red rusty water. Salt Crystal climb the walls of abandoned RVs. The beach is made of fish and bird bones. On a still day, decay permeates the air. A large development scheme, abandoned.