Wednesday, November 18, 2009


An agitated email arrived yesterday from the COASST people, again again there is "a lot of Akashiwo sanguinea foam on the coastal beaches." Northwest Public Radio had a story about it on Tuesday. So far no distressed birds reported. Apparently the beautiful cleanswept beach I saw Saturday was only a lull in the ongoing event. The Kalebergs saw the same beach aspects the day before, on Second Beach: swathes of clear beach, and a lot of long-familiar wood moved or removed. They have comparison photos.

Now the beaches are slimed again. Come on algae, go to sleep, it's winter.

Regarding the elk on Quillayute Prairie, a big "Aha." According to Erna Gunther, in Ethnobotany of western Washington : the knowledge and use of Indigenous plants by native Americans, "the Indians, meaning the Quileute, burned over Forks and Quillayute prairie in order to lure elk and deer to feed on the young fern shoots." Other sources say the same(1). The big field in Beaver, where I saw the elk last winter, is also a prairie that predates current uses, and is thought to have been maintained with fire by the Quileute before the time of European settlement.

I'm reading a terrific small book about a trip to find surviving, even thriving, Olympic oysters on the far Vancouver Island coast. The Living Shore : Rediscovering a Lost World is the perfect mind-rinse to follow Margaret Atwood's grim The Year of the Flood, which I just finished. ('Dystopia' is the most frequent label the LibraryThing taggers give that one. I'll say.)

Haven't gotten a good representative photo of my new workplace yet. Peninsula College has a handsome campus with great views of the harbor and the Strait, and a gorgeous new (opened September 2008) library. Big windows. I can stand at the circulation desk and see Victoria across the Strait (weather permitting), or watch the pilot boat chug out around the end of Ediz Hook, rendezvousing with the big ships. Being in an academic library is something new for me, and I don't yet have a clue how to write about it. I watch the student traffic flow in and out of the library, young ones and older ones, busy working on transforming their lives. Haven't been tweeting, and I miss it; but at Elwha we were busy moving bookshelves, and the college is not yet mine to write about either.

Students at bus stop; harbor; Ediz Hook; Strait; Victoria beyond (Click for larger image.)

The Hurricane Ridge camera has been broken for a few days. The Port Angeles Inn harbor cam was pointing up at the mountains until a couple of minutes ago, but I messed up and didn't save the image in time. The south-facing cam at the airport gives us this:


robin andrea said...

I'm so glad you stopped by Dharma Bums blog and left a comment. It's great to see that you've made such a good life for yourself on the peninsula. It is so beautiful there. Very sad to read about that unusual red tide. I have to say, one of the best things about leaving the coast, both Washington's and California's, is not having to see the endless destruction of our oceans everyday. The cost to marine mammals and sea birds is just too much to have to witness. Still, I'm always grateful that people stay and do the work, help and care, and clean up after the mess.

mb in Port Angeles said...

Thanks for your note.

I got into this beached-bird tracking by accident, dead birds are not anybody's idea of a good time. But it is certainly present reality, and it seems to be what I can give back to the outer coast.