Thursday, January 27, 2011


Foggy morning here at Glimpse-of-the-Salt. No glimpse of pretty much anything whatever at the moment.

January 27. Gray day in the alley. (Click for larger image.)
January 27. Resolved: don't call it 'the vacant lot'. It ain't vacant. (Click for larger image.)

Found this wonderful website. Sea Stars of the Pacific Northwest. The bright colors are especially, um, special in a world mostly gray this morning. Was led there by Echinoblog, which I arrived at in pursuit of a movie of the scallop escape reflex, and this you have to see to believe...

Gray here now, gray on the beach this weekend. Tried to make a film of the contrast between everything else on a rainy/foggy day and the color of fresh red alder logs, but the difference is so great it overwhelmed the camera's automatic settings. Well, not so inaccurate really. It pops, and this is how the camera responds to that pop:

January 23rd, Gray Day at Rialto Beach, Red Alder Log

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Late to Work Again

Readin' the current book by Jack Nisbet, the guy who wrote the book about David Thompson mapping the upper reaches of the Columbia that I had so much fun with a few months ago. This one is set in the late 1820s and is about the plant collector David Douglas. Douglas-fir douglas-squirrel douglasia etc Douglas.

Should be blogging Monday's beach walk, or else mopping floors--sand ALL OVER the house, yo-- but am sitting here reading twitter and tending my sundry reading-greed lists.

Frost so thick this morning it's like science fiction. No it didn't rain or snow, all that endless thick white just froze right out of the air...

COASST survey, January 17, 2011, Hobuck Beach (map) (Click for larger image.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wood, Cobbles, Shingle, Pebbles, Sand

Rain is not much of a problem as long as there are no dead birds to identify. You trundle along, dutifully peering into the drift (the beach face is totally clean-swept, you can see without looking that there is nothing to record). As long as you never have to unship the COASST bird pack —flopping down in the wet to juggle gloves, clipboard, measuring tools, ID book, camera, one's self-confidence, and oh yes a featherduster corpse— walking in the rain is what rain gear is for, and it's beautiful out.

Soundscape, January 16, 2011, Rialto Jetty

Wood, cobbles, shingle, pebbles, sand. It's certainly not the case that nothing accumulates at Rialto Beach. But the small movables mostly aren't visible. Scarcely any wrack. Very little trash. No dead birds, or crab parts, or even stray feathers. They must arrive, if the wood does; so then what happens? Carried away again? Buried under the shingle?

A lot of fresh red alder drift (Click for larger image.)
... (Click for larger image.)

Saw an eagle in a tree north of Bear Creek, and she/he was still there when I was back on the highway several hours later. Saw an eagle out over the ocean, lost track of it, not sure where it hangs out. The mouth of Ellen Creek had shifted much further to the north, and the creek in its sweep into new territory had undercut trees on the freshly carved north bank. Down they came.

The leaning ghost tree is apparently never going to fall over. I'm bored with taking pictures of it. It occurs to me that once it comes down and the tide moves it, I won't necessarily know which uprooted dead tree somewhere on the beach—if it is somewhere on the beach and not carried away— is the right one.

... (Click for larger image.)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

90% Chance of Rain. Don't Care.

Headed for the outer coast today. 90% chance of rain. Don't care. The point of living here is regularly going there, and I haven't been for a month. (Good thing there's a salt water Strait out my windows, or my very identity would be in doubt.) My dead-bird survey could be a mite wet, however.

Mostly, that is, don't care. Haven't left yet...

Friday, January 14, 2011


Tuesday night it snowed like crazy for a while, but before morning it had turned to rain. Wednesday dawn:

January 12, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Thursday morning I had to pop out on the deck, in my nightgown, in the rain, in full view of the morning traffic on 8th Street, because of the rainbow...

January 13, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Can't see that we're going to see the sun at all this morning. There's blueness here and there, but not sunwards... For the record, sunrise is at 8:00 AM exactly this morning, like right now. And sunset has already latened to 4:46 PM.

Monday, January 10, 2011

And... Oden Is About to Arrive at McMurdo

Sailwx shows the icebreaker Oden, off Cape Royds, about to finish opening the passage to the US base at McMurdo. What the sailwx maps do not make clear is that the Ross Sea is mostly covered by the Ross Ice Shelf, and that the icebreaker forges a channel through annual sea ice to open the way for the supply ship (and maybe some cruise ships, oh if only I could, oh my)...

... (Click for larger image.)

The retreat of the sea ice is proceeding fast. Cold and Dry and Far South
says that they can see to open water from McMurdo already, but not yet see Oden.

Hunting blogs to follow this year. In addition to Cold and Dry, and South Pole Serian, also there is also SSEC's On the Ice. More????

'Tis The Season To

...start paying attention to the grey whale migration. Touring the websites. Heading to First Beach instead of Rialto. All like that.


I keep going down to the harbor, in between going to work and otherwise resettling into my life. Today I meant to try to get to the ocean after a couple of hours at the tribe, but it's freezy and snowflaky out there, and more to come. Forecast #fail: it was supposed to be sunny today.

Saturday and Sunday it was intermittently very clear out, water horizons a hard blue line, and downtown Victoria seeming no further than arm's length distance.

Victoria Across the Strait, January 10 (Click for larger image.)

Sunday evening out on the Hook, the two submarine escort vessels (Silverstar and Gemstone, probably, though I couldn't read them) were moored at the Coast Guard station. Does this mean they won't park in the open at the terminal any more? Or was there just not room for them?

Looking at the Sub Escort Vessels. Not Intending to Be Arty, Just the Only Angle I Could Get on Them, January 10 (Click for larger image.)

Friday evening, I discovered a new sign down at the docks, forbidding photographs. Excuse me? I'm not inclined to pay attention but can't know what attitude to strike until I know who sez so. Afraid to inquire. If it's Homeland Security, they might get agité were I to ignore them.

Sierra at the Terminal, January 7 (Click for larger image.)

Overseas Martinez at the T-pier, January 7 (Click for larger image.)

Harbor View, January 6 (Click for larger image.)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Ships Again

As the plane flew along the Strait and over the harbor at dusk on Monday, there seemed to be ships everywhere. And yesterday a big tanker (apparently Alaskan Legend) was parked out in the harbor directly below the college library's swath of windows. Should have taken a picture then, today there is thick fog.

The view from VTSLite (Click for larger image.)

Portland Bay never reappeared on the ship trackers I use. Set out for Korea with all those logs aboard and who knows what happened next. David Sellars, who writes about the harbor for the Peninsula Daily News, told me that there are two more log ships due to load in January. No sign of them yet, but if I can get out of the house early enough this morning (not much chance of that), I'll go look.

Lastly, South Pole Serian (who is actually at McMurdo on the Ross Sea) pointed out we can track the progress of the icebreaker Oden, and supply ship Nathaniel B. Palmer, on Woo hoo, sort of. Last news of Oden is four days old.

No way around it. Edna St. Vincent Millay was one of the first poets I read because my mother read them, Millay Frost Teasdale; these lines * are still filed away in memory.

      I have a need to hold and handle
      Shells and anchors and ships again.
      I am too long away from water;
      I have a need of water near."