Sunday, April 29, 2012

Up on the Mountain

It's not looking very welcoming up there, yet

Webcam at Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, Early Morning, April 29, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

But in fact, melting is coming along at the snotel station at Waterhole, further out the ridge....

That Was Then, This Is Now

The whole world is watching, I mean really. Reuters, for example. And this morning's local paper gave the image of outflowing sediment the whole space above the fold. What we need, though, is some side-by-side to entertain us.

Elwha Dam, on a sunny day in August, and no dam at all yesterday morning... (Click for larger images.)
Glines Canyon Dam, the morning the demolition began, and yesterday (Click for larger image.)

I think they're going to have to reposition the camera this summer, or the work will be going on below the frame. But if they do, we'll lose the side-by-side...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Formerly Known As

According to David Sellars who does the On the Waterfront column in the paper, the present log ship, the Astoria Bay, is the ship which was called Dry Beam when it suffered a rogue wave in February (see last section of article). Sellars says Dry Beam went off to Japan to be repaired, and came back under an alias :-) He says the logs left behind at Ogden Point in Victoria when they unloaded after the catastrophe were never sold or reloaded, they were ground into chips, profits of chip sale benefiting the Food Bank in Victoria.

I stopped down by the harbor to watch Astoria Bay load, and get some pictures for WC, who lives on the other side of the Strait and had had his eye on the logs that Dry Beam left behind on the cruise ship dock at Ogden Point in Victoria.

April 24, 2012. Loading Astoria Bay, in Port Angeles Harbor (Click for larger image.)

There were a lot more men visibly at work than is usual, both on the dock and directing the loading from atop the load. Are they particularly concerned after losing the previous load to the rogue wave? Or is it because this ship is configured rather differently than the Pacific Basin line ships? Anyway, two little movies, for WC. The color quality is the pits, but the action in the second one is primo...


Yeah, I know. I should find it horrifying, and spare you the sight, the way I have come to spare you the pictures of dead birds when I'm doing beach surveys. But I find the loading process mesmerizing.

Long Daylight Hours

On Monday it was warm in town, warm warm warm. Weather in the sixties, in April. (!!) Spent the morning at the tribal library and then, well, I knew exactly what I wanted, and the days are long enough now. I wanted to take the warm sunny day and go put my feet in the ocean. Out there it was windy, and not sunny.

Rialto Beach, April 23, 2012. (Click for larger image.)

But I got what I wanted.

... (Click for larger image.)

Too cold really to hang around with bare toes and wet jeans; I went back to the car to put on socks and hiking boots, and walked for a while. The tide was going out. There was some fresh wrack, mostly various brown kelps. Especially rockweed. (1)(2)

Rockweed (Click for larger image.)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Staying Local

The dam removal blog hasn't been updated lately, but local newspapers are keeping us roughly current. From the Seattle Times, knockout photos of sediment coming down the Elwha River, released from the vanishing lakes behind the dams. From the Peninsula Daily News, a (de)construction update that finally addresses the question I've been obsessing on since day 1, how deep is the rubble pile growing upstream of Glines Canyon Dam, and what will they do when they reach it? Thanks to the project manager, Brian Krohmer, for telling us, "Currently, the rubble pile is about 35 feet under the current surface of the water... Once the water level and the rubble pile meet, the excavation of the rubble will begin." Keep watching the dam cams.

The cruise ship Oosterdam came into port for 12 hours. It's been two years since the last time one of the big liners stopped here; it only happens when Port Angeles is built into the special itinerary for repositioning cruise: Oosterdam spent the winter in the Caribbean, will spend the summer shuttling back and forth to Alaska every week. We librarians were all excited to see her cruise across our view, whipped out cameras and binoculars. The students were oblivious...

Oosterdam as seen through the windows of the college library, April 18, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Sitting at the dock, she was bigger than all downtown put together— and the Holland-America ships aren't even among the big ones. For a while there were pedestrians all over the streets, but there is not much here from a tourist point of view. It rained. Even the passengers who'd signed up for a bus trip into the Park won't have seen anything up on Hurricane Ridge, nor gotten a hike to Marymere Falls. They won't have had rain gear with them, poor things, and we don't have anything like elegant shops...

... (Click for larger image.)

The log yard has been filling up, and sure enough a logship appeared at the T-pier. She was not yet loading when I went to look at her yesterday morning. The trucks were all clumped up waiting for the longshoremen to be ready, the cranes all unshipped and the loader machines in position.

Waiting to load Astoria Bay (Click for larger image.)

It's time for the Great Olympic Peninsula Duck Derby, the annual community fundraiser for the Olympic Medical Center Foundation. The Duck appeared in Swains' parking lot, then moved to the Safeway. The race will have to happen on a pond in Lincoln Park this year, because of construction on the biofuels plant at Nippon Paper down by the harbor, the venue for the past couple of decades. I'll have to stop by Safeway and buy a ticket. Not likely to win. That's ok. I don't want a fully loaded new pickup truck anyway.

The Duck, At Safeway (Click for larger image.)

Lots of ship action, when I was down at the harbor having breakfast with JL.

Overseas Boston, April 20, 2012 (Click for larger image.)
Forsythia in the Alley, April 10, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

When It's Blue Out

I spend a lot of time looking out my windows. Whatever the weather. Blue weather doesn't so much inspire me to want to get out of the house as inspire me to hang around, catching glimpses of the blue bits of horizon as I sit at my desk or walk from room to room. Starting around now, the morning sun has moved far enough north that it shines into the house from the corner of the deck at sunrise...

There are houses, the alley, the forsythia by the blue garage, sunsets, gulls, crows on the wires. But mostly there's that horizon.

My attention zooms in. Ships pass by the bottom of the street.

This jaunty little dude is the ferry, Coho. (Click for larger image.)
The car carrier Mermaid Ace, which apparently had come from Vancouver and was passing by the bottom of the street only to pick up her pilot. One of those ship movements that constitutes a mystery... (Click for larger image.)

Victoria's lights at night. San Juan Island straight out. Mount Baker 90 miles to the northeast.

Usually when it's looking good out there and I want a picture, I pop out onto the deck. But the other morning walked right up to the window to do it, just to prove to myself it's the same world on either side of the glass.

Mount Baker Sunrise, April 8, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

This post is actually for Roshi, who asked about my windows.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Not Always Empty

On Saturday conditions at First Beach were perfect for seeing the grey whales, except for not seeing any. It was blue, and still, and the ocean was nearly flat. I could almost believe that if there had been whales passing by just then, I'd have seen them.

First Beach, with James Island, April 7, 2012 (Click for larger image.)
First Beach, Little James Island, the village of La Push (Click for larger image.)

There were lots of people everywhere.

And a perfectly amazing giant piece of drift, which seems to have arrived this winter...

Giant on the Beach, April 7, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

The score remains

Migrating Whales 10,000
Sightings 0

The School at the Edge of the World. (The Quileute Tribal School, in the village of La Push, at First Beach.) (Click for larger image.)

Friday, April 06, 2012

Busy Little Harbor

Yesterday the harbor was full of big ships. I met JL down by the ferry dock for breakfast at Smuggler's Landing. The ferry sailed, the water taxi Sealth Arrow came and went with so many ships to be carrying people to and from.

Coho leaving the dock, with FPMC 25 behind (Click for larger image.)

The sun shone on a bright red tanker, FPMC 25 (ooh I love red ships, I don't know why); on the chip carrier Brilliant Pioneer; on the tankers Teesta Spirit and Alaskan Explorer; and on whomever else was hanging around. In the late afternoon, after my shift up at the college library, I was back down there to work at the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary office for a while, and when I left around 4:30PM, FPMC was still there. She sailed a little while later as JL was leaving her office ("I watched it sail away. Beautiful in the late afternoon sun," she emailed me), and when next I checked she was already out on the Strait;

FMPC 25 on just after she sailed (Click for larger image.)

Her last reported position was down the Oregon Coast, heading for San Francisco.

Brilliant Pioneer with chip hoppers (?) over the holds; the snow-dotted mountains of Vancouver Island showing across the Strait (Click for larger image.)

To the south the Olympics remained somewhat murky, as they have for days.

The View South From the Second Floor of the Landing (Click for larger image.)

Ocean Cape is back at the City Pier. I think there's a story I'm supposed to know about that one.

Ocean Cape (Click for larger image.)

A Visual Joke and a Truth, Both at Once

The wallpaper image on my iPad is this view of Rialto Beach, taken in October 2010.

Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park (Click for larger image.)

Then there's Florida's Gulf coast, the west side of the state, where the nieces, and nephew-in-law, and great-niece live. Over and over since I came home, I have pulled out the iPad, woken it up from the view above, and showed people the quintessence of my family visit to Florida: the famous white sand beach of Siesta Key. According to Stephen Leatherman, self-named Dr. Beach, it was the best beach in America in 2011. On March 31, it looked like this:

Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida, March 31, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

The March 28 post below showed the Atlantic coast of Florida, on the east side of the state. The sand there is yellow, and there can be surf. My family, none of the three generations, get to the water from one end of a decade to the other. I made it happen this time, it seemed ridiculous to visit my ma four times a year and never to get near the ocean or the Gulf; but I won't fuss them about it ever again. It is what it is.