Monday, December 29, 2008

The Pleasures of the Harbor

Sunday the home neighborhood and all of town sunny, the streets clear, Port Angeles' yearround green lawns emerged from their temporary glaciers. So I headed west to go to the ocean, but before I got as far as the Lake the road still seemed too iffy, lots of snow to either side, icy patches. Had an old-lady moment and turned back around milepost 236. Should have just gone, but instead crept home and soon found myself once again—fourth time this week— on Ediz Hook. There was a little pilot boat action: Majorca picked up a pilot on her way into the Sound. And a lot of people out; walking, bicycling, staring out across the Strait, hopping on the rocks, or sitting in their car reading until there were ships to watch.

Sanderlings and turnstones (12/28) (Click for larger image.)
Majorca waiting for her pilot. Victoria (on Vancouver Island) in the background. (12/28) (Click for larger image.)
Heading out to check his crab pots. (12/27) (Click for larger image.)
Gulls. Snowy Sooke Peninsula on Vancouver Island in the background. (12/25) (Click for larger image.)
Bicyclist on the boat launch dock by the Puget Sound Pilot Station.(12/28) (Click for larger image.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Park Marmot, Park Map, Park Webcams

Browsing the Olympic National Park website, having just discovered that their site index leads to otherwise lost content (though the animated glaciation .gifs have not come back)... Here's a marmot:

marmot photo borrowed from NPS website

The Park's fine map viewer.

The Park's webcam page. Construct your own tour. (At this precise moment the Hurricane Ridge cam is stuck in the pre-dawn...)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ducks and Ships and Sanderlings

Escaping from the extremely local Siberia of my neighborhood (streets neither plowed nor sanded), I went out on Ediz Hook Monday afternoon.

As to feathers: harlequin ducks, some mallards mobbing a pintail and chasing him away, Canada geese, wigeons, black turnstones, and sanderlings.

As to ships, tugs were moving Genmar Hope into place at the terminal, another tug was doing something to Theano (she had her name in Latin letters on the prow, in Greek on the stern), the heavy tug Andrew Foss was moored on a buoy, a fishing boat pulled a line of floats to a buoy and moored it with two others, Overseas Los Angeles and Polar Enterprise were anchored in the harbor, a cutter was pulled up to the Coast Guard station, and Coho sailed.

Andrew Foss, Theano, Genmar Hope (Click for larger image.)

ΘΕΑΝΩ, port of registry ΧΙΟΣ (Click for larger image.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thoroughly Wild

Fourteen more fishers were reintroduced to Olympic National Park yesterday. "They're active and speedy tree climbers," says Saturday's newspaper article. They're active and speedy, period. As with the releases earlier this year in January and March, every photo shows them running like crazy the moment the cage is opened. If determination has anything to do with it, these guys are going to thrive and repopulate the mountains...

NPS Photos by Janis Burger, from the Park's press release.

Female 027 leaves crate. (Click for larger image.)
Female 028 leaves crate (Click for larger image.)
Male 032 leaves crate (Click for larger image.)

Go, critters, go. Make lots of babies.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ridiculously Nice 2

Out to Rialto Beach on another ridiculously nice winter day. It's been so cold since it snowed on Saturday that there was still snow on the ground everywhere, even by the ocean; but only the last bit of road under the deep forest inside the Park boundary was seriously icy. There were no other cars, so it was possible to just creep safely along.

Still snow on the drift logs, but only a little remains. (Click for larger image.)

It was warm in the sun, mild, perfectly beautiful. The ocean was almost flat. Tide was coming in, but you could hardly tell; the tiny swells wandered gently in. I read a book and listened to them sloshing. Later I sat in the parking lot and ate lunch. You can't even see the ocean from there, just hear it. But I could still see it in my mind, soft and blue. Such a feeling of contentment bubbled up.

Winter jacket weather, but no gloves needed, no windbreaker (Click for larger image.)
No surf, no wind. (Click for larger image.)

I drove around to the La Push side of the river, to see how the road was and because I didn't want to leave. It was just the same: soft air, calm blue ocean. Came home along the familiar highway, all floaty and happy; that's when I got the elk pictures.

From La Push. Oh so blue. (Click for larger image.)

Isn't it amazing. I get to live here.

Elk Report (Finally)

I went to the ocean. Along Highway 101 near Beaver there were elk in a field. And later a handful in a ditch exactly next to the road, looking around as if to say, 'Oh my, this isn't the best spot to be, is it?' I've been failing to see elk where other people have seen them for the past sixteen months. No elk near Sequim, no elk on the Hoh River, no elk in the meadow near the Elwha entrance station where M. famously saw them, nor from the Elk Overlook on the trail from Whiskey Bend, just no elk... But by golly, finally, elk in a big field in Beaver.

Olympic Elk (Roosevelt Elk). Click for larger image.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's Winter Around Here WebCam Tour

That storm opened the back door and let arctic air pour down on us through the Fraser Valley...

Hurricane Ridge Cam, 12/15/08, 10:30 AM Click for larger image.
Same time, Port Angeles Airport Cam Click for larger image.
Lake Crescent cam Click for larger image.
Later still: 3 PM, oh look, the First Beach Cam is back online:
First Beach at La Push, late afternoon, 12/15/08 Click for larger image.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Reading News

I gave up on Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country, at least for now. Maybe I'll get it back and continue after people aren't waitng in line for it. M. says Matthiessen always meant to be a novelist, and became a famous Buddhist naturalist author instead only by circumstance. But Shadow Country is ugly. Maybe I will see if The Behavior And Ecology Of Pacific Salmon And Trout is readable; we have a copy out at the tribal library. Or try to find a botany book. My mind needs a rinse.

This Morning After the Storm

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Toy: Ocean Prediction Center

J.B., who sails, sent this image. It's from the NOAA Ocean Prediction Center, and the particular view is the 24-hour Surface Forecast. (Note: The link will give you whichever 24-hour forecast is current.) I love that it's signed by the forecaster. Thankyou, NOLT, whoever you are.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just for the Record

What the National Weather Service says this evening (see also the 2:10 PM winter storm watch and 4:36PM Forecast Discussion) and what Cliff Mass said at 10 o'clock this morning bear only slight relationship to each other, except that they agree this storm is Very Hard To Forecast, and it's going to get bleeping cold over the weekend.

I don't care as long as the power stays on.

Which depends almost entirely on wind, which when it blows trees fall over and we lose power.

Later: Whoa. A 12-page PDF from NOAA of serious graphical warnings.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Morning Does Come

Eventually. Sunrise today, 7:52 AM.

Well south of due east, 7:44 AM, December 8, 2008. (Click for larger image)

It's remarkably hard to get stirring while it's still dark on the other side of the curtains (except when being driven by monastic wake-up bell and han), or to trouble to leave the house after mid-afternoon, given it will be dark in a couple of hours. This is not news to my North-European friends, but my family and most of my friends live in the southern tier of states and haven't a clue.

Yesterday afternoon, sudden sunshine. Went out along the dike to the west side of the Elwha River where it flows into the Strait. On the river, some wigeons and some goldeneyes, and gulls bathing. A small boat being pulled out of the river back where Lower Elwha Road ends. On the Strait, gulls and grebes; M/V HOS Silverstar and Gemstone head in towards Port Angeles Harbor. They are offshore supply vessels, whatever that may mean. I haven't figured out why they run around with a handful of containers on their decks, or seem to much prefer traveling so close together.

Out on the Strait, December 7. (Click for larger image)

Later: Last week I was at that spot at the end of Lower Elwha Road, looking out towards the Strait. Where I stood yesterday was on the low cobble beach on the left of this photo:

Elwha River meets the Strait, December 2, as seen from the river. Vancouver Island in the background. (Click for larger image)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Winter Beach

Clear cold day, after a run of cloudy foggy ones.

Should have worn the rubber boots, so I could have let the foam wash around me as high as I dared, and then (inevitably) gotten wet anyway and really let it have me.

Tide was coming in, so when an extra-big wave reached higher than before there was the wonderful fizzy sound of the foam sifting down through the gravel beach, filling the spaces with water that was still half air.

Beached starfish, washed up from somewhere...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Poets' Techie

In September, we put up issue #55 of the Santa Fe Poetry Broadside. Forgot to mention it here.

Issues #56 & #57 are lined up for December & February. We've been doing this online-poetry-magazine gig for more than ten years now, which makes us practically ancient in web terms. I'm glad we're still at it.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sunday, Beach 4

High Tide, Strong Surf, Fog (Click for larger image)

Sunnier times, low tide.