Sunday, April 11, 2010

One More, One More

Saturday. Different people see different things. SA was here for a visit, another of those one-night house guest events my beloveds specialize in. I picked her up down at the harbor, and off we went to look for whales at First Beach. We had to stop a couple of times so she could take photos of the old logged-over areas along Highway 110, which I've mostly trained myself never to see (1)(2).

It was peaceable and flat seas and low tide out there. No whales. SA comes from inland. We walked on the beach, and she took her shoes off and waded in briefly, and we squinted out into the cloudy-ish flat glare looking for whale spouts. Not a one.

The Sea Was Very Peaceful (Click for larger image.)

So we went and had lunch at the Quileute Rez's restaurant, hoping for halibut. "Are you kidding, there's no opening," said the waitress, and indeed there was no fishing traffic in and out of the marina as we watched. No fresh local seafood alas. We looked at the river, and out to sea. There was a sea lion diving and swimming around. Later we went back out onto the point and looked for whale blows some more. No whales. It was more blue out, though, and there was a lot of sea lion action in the river. They were fishing for steelhead, one watcher thought; diving, a little bit of barking. So we were not without wildlife, just without whales.

Quillayute River (Click for larger image.)

So we headed back, and went up the Sol Duc River to look for steelhead jumping at Salmon Cascade. Yes there were steelhead jumping. SA liked that because unlike the whales who weren't there or the flitting diving sea lions, you sure knew when you saw a leaping fish. I hooted and hopped with excitement, but SA found it ultimately very sad: the fish jump and jump and bounce off and fall back, and when they finally succeed in getting up there and spawning, the fish die. But yeah, charismatic wildlife in the form of leaping steelhead. We stayed and watched a long time. There weren't so many. We waited. "One more, one more," said SA. And after that, "one more" again. How could we leave. Fish were flinging themselves up the Cascade.

Yes there were steelhead, jumping here (Click for larger image.)

No pictures of fish in flight this time, but last year in April, another one-day visitor managed to capture it.

It was getting more and more blue. When we got back to Port Angeles we went straight down to Ediz Hook and looked at the harbor and the Strait. Some shorebirds. Some gulls. The sound of a barking sea lion but we never saw it. Oh it was beautiful out.

Blue Gorgeous from the Hook, and the Olympics Stood Out Strong Behind Port Angeles (Click for larger image.)

So we went off to a restaurant by the harbor ("Just so you know, we're out of everything to do with halibut"), and watched the sunset and the beautiful blue dusk, and the water moving and lapping outside the windows. By then I had made poor SA look at water in six or seven different places in the course of the day, and was extremely happy and contented, myself. I hope it was OK for her. :-)

1 comment:

robin andrea said...

We watched salmon struggle up the Chimacum Creek for a few seasons. There was something so heartbreaking watching one salmon move beyond another that lay dying. Their efforts are so full of life, and yet so ghostly at the same time. A life cycle that moves like a poem.

Beautiful photos here, as always.