Sunday, December 16, 2007

Not Seeing the Gray Whale in Clallam Bay

Expedition to Sekiu, where OrcaNetwork's email bulletin last week reported daily sightings of a gray whale feeding. Variable rain along the Strait of Juan de Fuca scenic highway (State Route 112), brightening patches, bits of blue sky in the distance—what my friend M. calls "sucker holes" —, then more rain. The village of Clallam Bay, then Sekiu. Binoculars pointing here and there... well... where to look? That's ok. I never expected to see anything. :-) Scouted out places to look out from, then settled into the By the Bay Café for lunch, reading a mystery and intermittently pointing the binoculars at what turned out to be a flotilla of buffleheads among the pilings.
Clallam Bay from Sekiu

Then drove up to the bluff above what seemed to be Olson's Resort in a state of winter desuetude, and looked out, read the book some more, and continued to try to guess where to look for a foraging whale. Left Sekiu — which by the way is pronounced See-Cue, to rhyme with see-through— and headed back, looking out at the Strait whenever possible: ducks yes, whales no. Detoured into Pillar Point Park. Grebes, ducks, gulls, ravens and rainbows, yes. Whales, no.

Pillar Point County Park. View east. Click for larger image.

A small boat came puttering in, was loaded up onto its trailer and left. I think they had been crabbing, as they unloaded a big covered bucket, and there was a sign on the shore with rules for recreational crabbers. Once they pulled out, I had the place to myself, so I parked a short way down the boat ramp. Rain came and went. Lots of grebes. A gull eating something large which he kept dropping and grabbing up again, like maybe part of a crab.

Pillar Point County Park. View west.
View north. Butler Creek flows into the Strait.


Ceeinbc said...

Something I just noticed -- it's Clallam Bay but you're the librarian for the Klallam Tribe? Is the former an anglicized version of the latter, Indian name or is it something completely different?

mb in Port Angeles said...

The book I'm reading, _Shadows of our ancestors : readings in the history of Klallam-White relations_ has a long piece taken from the writings of a minister working on the Skokomish Reservation in the late 19th century, where in fact the Klallam were supposed to have moved but didn't. He spells everything with a K. Klallam County, Klallam Bay and all.