Friday, February 27, 2009

Wowie At the Moment

Hurricane Ridge WebCam 11:25 AM, 02-27-09... (Click for larger image.)

I've been trying all morning to catch it with the mists out of the way. The actual official webcam link is broken, has been forever. But a little assiduous source code reading yielded the URL of the camera itself; not always working, but wowie at the moment.

Beautiful Morning

...the Olympics, from the Airport Webcam (Click for larger image.)

P.S. M. is snowed in again. 2.5 feet. Zowie.

Surprise Surprise

Woke up to about six inches of snow yesterday morning. Happily went out with the snowshovel and cleared the driveway down to asphalt, though as it turned out a sunny afternoon melted much of the snow around town.

We are still at only about 75% of the normal snow pack, but this certainly helped.

Snow-water equivalent: Waterhole Snotel on Hurricane Ridge, 02-27-09 (Click for larger image.)

Saturday, February 21, 2009


As I move on from Margaret Atwood to Stephen Booth, she asks the usual question: "How many books did you bring?" Happily I trot out my new standard answer: "I don't answer that question."

Gonna run out on the long travel day home. I'll have to do something about it before Tuesday, I don't have good luck in airport bookstores.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Light Aircraft

In Tuscon, where at the moment it is 72 degrees, whereas at home at the moment it is 33 degrees. T.-my-boss thinks it would be wonderful to go somewhere warm; but I gotta say, I moved to PA on purpose, left the sunbelt deserts on purpose, and could care less about being above, say, 65 degrees ever again.

My ma says, "It's a pretty day," as she has had occasion to do several hundred times a year for the last five decades. She too is living where she is on purpose. :-)

Murky weather on the flight to Seattle, murky weather heading south from SeaTac. Not much of a good look at anything until we were trailing along south just off the coast of Big Sur. Looked for gray whales, but from that height even boats were little, alas.

Leaving Port Angeles. (Click for larger image.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Gray Whales Are Coming, The Gray Whales Are Coming

Orcanetwork has been reporting sightings of gray whales in Puget Sound, and various stations along the coast are reporting their first northbound whales. GraywhalesCount saw eight today. These must be mostly the young solo males. The mothers and babies (cow/calf pairs) are still down in the lagoons in Baja. I quite like the idea of some adventurous young whale dudes exploring Puget Sound instead of staying on the main track north, heading efficiently for the Bering Sea.

Pretty soon I'll have to resume the practice of failing to see gray whales at First Beach. But I'm going to wait until the cows and calves begin to appear at least as far north as Point Piedras Blancas— they are the ones who hug the shore, and play in the surf at First Beach later on. (A ranger at the Park visitor center told me he's booked his family to stay at La Push to look for them the weekend of April 25th. And he thinks they are most visible at high tide.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Ocean. (Click for larger image.)

The picture above is actually a detail from a still larger view.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

As For Example Now

Here is the humble handmaiden of the muse of poetry, working on the next issue (#57) of the Santa Fe Poetry Broadside. The sky is blue, there's birds, the Strait is blue blue, Mount Baker shining crisp white against the horizon above the house with the red siding. Coho is back, singing out when he leaves or approaches the harbor, or passing the bottom of the street against the blue blue blue water.

Nevertheless, and notwithstanding my rapidly degrading powers of concentration, here I sit; making little web pages instead of being at the ocean. Tomorrow, if I'm good and stay on track (which of course I am not doing right now), I can go west.

The ferry, Coho, trucking by the bottom of the street. (Click for larger image.)
Mount Baker, image fiddled to make the mountain stand out... (Click for larger image.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

WebCam on the Ridge

The snowpack up in the Olympics is way below average. The snotel up on the ridge tells the story: hardly any new snow on top since the deep-freeze at the end of December. But it sure looks pretty up there today.

Hurricane Ridge, February 13. (Click for larger image.)

Sea Voyage to Another Country

Went to Victoria on the ferry yesterday, hung around with W. for a few hours, ferried home again. I quite love going on a sea voyage to another country and having it be so easy :-) Nearly forgot to bring my passport; it does seem ridiculous to need a passport to go someplace I can see out my window.

Coho was all shiny clean in her fresh paint. Little Coast Guard boats escorted us to the international line (the purser said they do that on random occasions. Homeland security practice.) Heavy remodeling work was still going on at the ferry dock on the Victoria side.

Port Angeles Harbor. Striped Peak in background. Paper mill. One of the Polar tankers. Smaller Coast Guard escort. (Click for larger image.)
Gull setting to work on Coho's fresh paintwork. Victoria harbor. (Click for larger image.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winter Came Back

Snow flurries Monday, frost every morning, thick grey clouds... although it cleared up this evening: the sky is cloudless, all the stars bright over M.'s house in the woods when I left there. Lights of Victoria bright on the other side of the Strait.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Being There

Rialto Beach, February 7th, falling tide. (Click for larger image.)

Spent Saturday afternoon at Rialto Beach, reading Katherine Paterson's Jip; sitting on a drift of small pebbles, leaning up against a log, watching the surf and filling my shirt pocket with little stones as I read. I've been feverishly pressing on with nonfiction books all week, there's a problem of library due dates and people waiting for the books; and it would be hard to say whether I was more hungry for the ocean or for being lost in a story. I read and watched, watched and read. Then came home again, satisfied.

Rialto Beach, February 7th, falling tide. (Click for larger image.)

Roshi complains that I keep sending him pictures of the same beach. I tell him it's because I always go to the same beach, and promise that the photographs are brand new each time. I refrain from pointing out that it's a peculiar complaint to be coming from someone who's been practicing zazen every morning of the world for the past fifty or so years.

Lake Crescent WebCam

Camera looks east.

Sunday morning early, Lake Crescent (Click for larger image.)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Early Morning WebCam News

Coho is home!! It looks like the crane is still there, but the ferry is back from his annual drydock sojourn in Seattle. Yaay. First run on Monday.

Coho at the ferry dock. (Click for larger image.)

Yesterday's harbor excursion was a big success. Lots of ship action in the harbor and out on the Strait, the pilot boat (only one in evidence) did three drop offs and one pickup in a single run, trekking back and forth on calm waters. British Hawthorn (home port: Douglas, Isle of Man) had several workboats around her where she was moored.

Ducks, gulls, a flock of brants, plenty of sanderlings.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Isolde, a car carrier, on the Strait. Victoria in the background. (Click for larger image.)
High Saturn (what a name!) on the Strait.Victoria in the background. (Click for larger image.)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Cleared Right Up

It rained all night, but now it's kind of beautiful out. That's San Juan Island (US) across the Strait, somewhat east of north. A bit to the left, due north, downtown Victoria (BC) appears between the trees.

Strait of Juan de Fuca (Click for larger image.)

Think I'd better get down to the harbor, and look for ducks. They go somewhere else when winter is over.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Daylight Report

G. writes: "I love November because of the way the light gets so low angle and sad, it really says 'Winter' more than any other one thing... Well now we’re all of 6 weeks out from the equinox, but I swear the light says 'Spring' as opposed to 6 weeks before the equinox when it says 'Winter'."

He wants to know, can the angle actually be different. I think so, the ecliptic tilts the analemma—but it's hard to see how that little bit would make a difference, and I can't quite wrap my brain around the geometry. Then again, he's a painter; I should just believe him...

Later. I think it's about how early in the year the earliest sunset falls. The sun set at 4:47 PM on November 6 (Samhain, to mix the cross-quarter days in there), and at 5:17 on February 3 (Imbolc). That is enough to notice.

What we have at the moment:
Thursday 5 February 2009 Pacific Standard Time
    Begin civil twilight 7:03 a.m.
    Sunrise 7:36 a.m.
    Sun transit 12:28 p.m.
    Sunset 5:21 p.m.
    End civil twilight 5:54 p.m.

Meanwhile, at Summit Camp on the Greenland Ice Sheet, the sun came back this week. The woman I know up there is staying for another rotation. She will have experienced the whole cycle, from autumn to no light to constant light, before she leaves.

Home Again, Home Again, Various

1. According to the snotel machine up on Hurricane Ridge, we don't have much of a snowpack this winter. This probably means that we can get out onto the meadows on the Ridge weeks earlier, like June instead of August; but on the whole, wetter is surely better...

2. The big crane is still working at the ferry landing. At the moment they're working on the pilings under the exit lanes. They'd better hurry up—ferry starts running again in five days.

Crane at work, fog on the water. (Click for larger image.)

3. Gotta get down to the water soon. Mouth of the Elwha? Bolt for the Actual Ocean?

4. Had a nice time rummaging around in the Envelope of the Past. San Francisco put on a gorgeous show as to winter sunshine and familiar streets. Saw eleven people from the Ancient Days; some I see on every visit, some not since 1975.

5. Just for the record, I left the desert 18 months ago; and I still get a little bit excited when I see gulls.