Sunday, December 30, 2012

Morning Morning

The sun rose a little while ago, about 90 degrees around to the right behind clouds and behind the lot with the trees. The ferry just sailed, I could hear its horn when I went out on the deck to take a photo. Straight out, my bit of water horizon. The Strait, San Juan Island (US); off to the left of this image would be downtown Victoria on Vancouver Island (CA). As always, camera zoomed as my attention does, focussed on the water.

Strait of Juan de Fuca, December 30, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

The soundtrack at the moment is Richie Havens, singing, "Morning morning". And a verbal one (*googles*, good heavens it's Longfellow). It's about the other end of the day, but feeling exactly right. "Darkness settles on roofs and walls,/ But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls."

Indeed the sea calls. Heading west to the outer coast, soon as I can. The tide and the weather aren't right, but this is the day, here I go.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Update on the Japanese dock that washed up on the outer coast.

Update on the Elwha River. Sediment outflow is building sandbars at the river mouth. The present 'fish window' ends January 1, and the work crews will be lowering the remaining face of Glines Canyon Dam again. Given the amount of sediment which has been coming down the river even without the addition of what demolition might have stirred up, it seems silly that they even bothered to stop... but anyway, we should be seeing cranes and tractors and guys doing stuff in view of the DamCams again, beginning next week.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Watcher of Ships Watches Some Ships

Light mostly gone. Thank heavens the sunsets are going to be later now, I am done with darkness. Went out on Ediz Hook (map).

Vancouver Island on the other side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, December 23, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

The submarine escorts (technically, offshore supply vessels) HOS Arrowhead and HOS Eagleview came in off the Strait. They always travel in pairs. It used to be Silverstar and Gemstone, but those two are no longer listed. Where have you gone, Silverstar?

HOS Arrowhead (Click for larger image.)

There were three big ships at anchor out in the harbor, the tankers Polar Discovery and Alaskan Frontier—the Polars and the Alaskans are often here, either just anchored and waiting for a day or two, or tied up at one of the piers sometimes for weeks, getting service done—and something more unusual that I couldn't get an angle on to photograph. The shiptracker sites say she is Prabhu Jivesh, an Indian ship. I can only think of one other time there was a ship from India...

Polar Discovery in Port Angeles Harbor (Click for larger image.)

There were three boat trailers parked by the small boat docks when I got out there, and a woman from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife sitting in her pickup waiting. All three came in while I was hanging around; only one of the boats had caught anything. "A small blackmouth," said the fisherman. The WDFW lady took her clipboard out on the dock and measured the fish. Blackmouth is a winter Chinook salmon, not yet mature to begin its spawning run.

Alaskan Frontier, and a small recreational fishing boat (Click for larger image.)
The Olympic Mountains emerge briefly (Click for larger image.)

Being Here

While I was gone, and preoccupied, I kept setting aside links to stories from home.

The log yard is nearly empty. At least one logship loaded while I was gone, according to David Sellars' December 15th 'On the Waterfront' column. He says (near the bottom of the story) POS Jade was the 13th log ship of the year to sail from our harbor.

A big dock washed ashore down the wilderness Olympic National Park coast, somewhere nonspecified between Toleak Point and Hoh Head. Is it tsunami debris? Unknown but likely. Japanese writing found on it.

The elk herd in Sequim were hanging out by the highway. Motorists were warned to watch out since they seemed to intend to cross...

Discovered there is a weather station down on the harbor. Who knew? Apparently it's associated with the tide gauge. (1)(2)

'Tis the season to watch for high tide and heavy surf warnings. We had a king tide while I was gone, water splashing ashore in West Seattle, lots of debris and fresh erosion out on the Hook. With all these storms, there will surely be a Mavericks this year. My twitter stream brings me news of events in the rarified realm of big wave surfing, in this case a near-fatal wipeout on Cortes Bank; and I have resumed my not-so-secret winter habit of watching surf videos on youtube. I have watched Mike Parsons ride this wave very many times, and it is still breathtaking...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Sunrise

I'm in Florida doing family stuff, and thinking about home. It's hard to blog from the iPad, but here is a pinky-gold sunrise I found in the camera. December 5. Olympic Mountains to the south, Strait of Juan de Fuca to the north. Eventually I'll be back there.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


Went to Portland for the monthly medical adventure. The big west coast storms had discouraged any AngelFlight pilots from signing up for my mission, so I flew down via Kenmore Air and Alaska Air. (AngelFlight, determined to take care of me anyway, arranged for the AlaskaAir flight to be free. Thank you to AngelFlight and to Alaska Air.) Had a nice sunbreak for the flight out of Port Angeles...

December 2, 2012. Heading East Over Port Angeles Harbor (Click for larger image.)
The Olympics Peeked Out As We Flew By (Click for larger image.)
Not Many Passengers, So Kenmore Flew Us In a Piper Chieftain. (Click for larger image.)

This trip was all about urban delights. There I was in Portland, riding on the MAX (the light rail), and on the streetcar, arriving early enough in the evening to look around me. There are tall buildings and Powell's City of Books, and light rail and streetcars and buses, and restaurants and density, and people on bicycles zipping along the rainy dark streets with blinky lights on their helmets; brick buildings and pedestrians everywhere even on a rainy Sunday night. At the motel by the PSU campus, skyscraper out the window, sound of the MAX train's bell. I held my umbrella over a Portland State student at the streetcar stop; she was watching its expected arrival time at our stop via an app on her phone. Other stops have proper shelters and digital readouts, tick tick, the next car will arrive in 4 minutes, 3 minutes...

Motel Window at Dusk, 5th and Montgomery, Portland. Church of St. Michael the Archangel (Click for larger image.)
Motel Window at Dusk. The Portland Plaza and the Wells Fargo Center (Click for larger image.)

I got to Powell's after a quick supper in a noodle shop. Being there for the first time, wow, I was so excited I could hardly breathe. I mean, it wasn't just-a-bookstore-so-who-cares (which is what I expected and why I hadn't bothered to make it to Powell's on the previous eight medical visits to Portland) but TOTALLY BOOKSTORE, pulsing with energy the way midtown Manhattan does if you just stand there on the street. It was full of people buying armloads and even whole shopping baskets of books. It had shelves and shelves of Loeb Classical Library. No pix, I was too dumbstruck to fire up the camera. I had to close my eyes and leave altogether when I got to the natural history section. The store was so intoxicating I was about to forget that I am a lifelong public library user and only buy books sometimes, as much as possible buying via Port Book and News to help keep them in business...

All the time I was wandering through Powell's, I was thinking of a poem by Miriam Sagan (my co-editor in the once-was Santa Fe Poetry Broadside).

Miriam Sagan:
"Library", from Inadvertent Altar:

            Standing in the stacks of Widener Library
            For the first time, I could have found
            The Federalist Papers in Urdu
            If I'd looked hard enough
            Narrow space between the shelves, beneath a catwalk
            Scholars walked over my head, or graduate
            Students hugging tight cold Cambridge streets
            Avoiding deportation to some terrible regime back home.

            Level A, B, C
            Translucent floors are other ceilings
            Down at the bottom, books
            In languages obscure by the time
            Alexandria burned
            What Scythians spoke, or Assyrians
            Down here, I'm seized
            Not by a desire for knowledge
            But by desire
            Surrounded by the smell of paper
            Pages curling upward, I want to make love
            To anyone, myself, some old boyfriend
            Or current one
            For I'm alone.

            I told this story
            Twenty-five years later
            To a Buddhist scholar, who said:
            "Oh yes, that's bodhichitta,
            The thought of enlightenment."
            A nexus point
            In a diamond web.
            I'd always thought
            Bodhichitta was the smell
            Of the incense stick
            At the funeral
            Some wake up to impermanence
            Not this lovely sensation
            Of too much to read.

I've lived so long in smaller places (by choice) that I forget really what a city is, what it does, how it feels. It was great sparky fun. In the morning: streetcar to the medical center, appointment, then streetcar to light rail to airport to home.

This post is for CF and AO, with whom I have been talking about 'urban'; and for IJ, who claims, "I am immune, immune I say to any blandishment offered up in any book store. But just on the tiniest off chance that I don't know myself all that well, I don't darken the doors of the places. Well, not very often, anyway." And of course for the Other Miriam.

Double Rainbow on Saturday

It keeps raining. Not a whole lot of precipitation, here; but it keeps happening; and not a whole lot of sun breaks and horizon clearings in between. But sometimes...

Double rainbow over the alley. December 1, 2012. (Click for larger image.)

Precipitation, yes, all up and down the west coast, and across the Northwest. Look at all that blue, yeah?

Basin Precipitation Map, December 4, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

But on the whole, it's too warm for the snowpack to be building. The Olympics and the Sierras are doing ok for snow-pack (after a couple of bad seasons for the Sierras), but the Cascades are looking scary.

Basin Snow Water Content, December 4, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Fresh Drought Monitor maps(1)(2) will come out on December 6. So we don't have to look at that bad news right this minute.