Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Seeing The Nearshore

Seeing it whole. Thankyou to Tom Roorda for permission to show these images, and to Anne Shaffer of the Coastal Watershed Institute for emailing them to me.

The Elwha River flows into the Strait. May 15, 2013. Photo by Tom Roorda. Notice in the larger image, Ediz Hook in the distance. That's where Port Angeles is. (Click for larger image.)
May 19, 2013. Photo by Tom Roorda. Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe's reservation is prominent to the east of the river. (Click for larger image.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Ocean on Sunday

Did went. I decided the whales either were at La Push, or not; and that I was happy to have seen one a month ago, and happy to know I could go look again. But really I needed a long listen to the sound of waves. So I went to Rialto Beach, and had the nicest time in months. Sea stars, anemones, black oystercatchers, gray sky turned blue etc.

Rialto Beach, May 18, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

I ambled out

Bryozoan, Bull Kelp, Rockweed (Click for larger image.)

toward Hole-in-the-Wall,

... (Click for larger image.)

beginning an hour before a not-very-low low tide. Maybe there wouldn't be any tidepool critters with the tide at this level, I thought, but yes there were.

Giant Green Anemone (Click for larger image.)
Chiton (Click for larger image.)
Pisaster ochraceus (purple sea star) (Click for larger image.)

Bird nerds will be happy to know I don't only greet cetaceans (and other charismatic megafauna, rivers, or stray sweeps of landscape). I also talk to birds. When I heard oystercatchers whistling and saw a pair circle past, all flappity flap, I too flapped my arms. 'Hi,' I told them, 'Hi darlings.'

Full confession. Later I had this guy nearby on a rock and I started edging closer to get a better picture. Bad me. After a while he squawked indignantly and flew away. No cheerful sounding whistles that time. 'Sorry, sweetie,' I told him.

Black Oystercatcher (Click for larger image.)

Eagles in the forest trees behind the beach. On the way home, an eagle sitting in the Quileute River from the pullout behind the beach.

Blurry eagle. (Click for larger image.)
Quileute River eagle (Click for larger image.)

I kept looking back along the beach, unable to understand how it can still be so beautiful when we know we have spoiled the world. It's done. See what we have lost.

Not a single panoramic still in the camera. All the little videos I took for soundscapes have mostly only the sound of the wind blowing across the camera. But they are where the panorama of waves sweeping up the beach are.

Rialto Beach panorama, May 19, 2013
Rialto Beach panorama, May 19, 2013

Shoutout to @7shores for putting me in mind to go listen to the waves. Thankyou, Olympic National Park.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Logship, Fisherguys, BigShips

Saturday remained a watercraft day. Went out twice more, first time down to the harbor to check on the loading of Astoria Bay. There was more simultaneous activity than I've ever seen at one of the logships, two loaders taking logs off two trucks at a time, seven or eight trucks lined up at once waiting to drive out onto the pier. Brakes puffing, engines rumbling, each truck hitting its horn when it is in position and all brakes set, ready to have its load lifted away.

May 18, 2013, Terminal 3 (the T-Pier) at the Port of Port Angeles. (Click for larger image.)

The whole process is mesmerizingly tangible, like watching a giant set of gears in some steampunk fantasy, and I love to watch it. The end result, of course, is that a couple of days later, a whole forest sails away to China.


Back home for a couple of hours, I kept my eye on the clock, and on the shiptracker websites, and when the evening's flock of cruise ships rounded Point Wilson, at Port Townsend, I went down to Ediz Hook (map) to wait for them to pass by on their way to Alaska. It is a reliable entertainment for summer weekend evenings; every Friday Saturday and Sunday, these ships bigger than all downtown leave Seattle at 4PM, come in close to the Hook around 7:30 PM, one two three, so the pilot boat can go out to pick up the pilots who brought the ships out of Puget Sound; and away they sail for Alaska. In a week they'll be back, and do it again. May through September, over and over.

But I was early, Westerdam, Jewel and Star were not yet in view, and there was a whole lot of action on the small boat docks inside the Hook. These were the guys whose boats were not sitting around in the alley a few hours ago. Mostly they hadn't caught anything. One man said his son had caught a small halibut. One after another they hauled up the ramp and headed for town.

Returning fishermen, Ediz Hook, Port Angeles Harbor, May 18, 2013. The tanker Polar Enterprise and the bulk freighter Pacific Logger in the background of the images. (Click for larger image.)

I waited a while. Other shipwatchers came and went. There were two tankers and an empty log ship anchored inside the harbor. There were freighters and tankers on the move on the Strait.

It got blue out.

Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca (Click for larger image.)
San Juan Island (US), across the Strait. (Click for larger image.)

The pilot boat Juan de Fuca, pulled out from the pilot station

Puget Sound Pilot Station (Click for larger image.)

and ran around furiously out on the Strait. Took pilots off two outbound ships, a freighter and a tanker. Came back in, dropped off those guys, went out again. Put pilots on two inbound ships, a container ship and a tanker; then, finally, rendezvoused with Holland-America Westerdam, Norwegian Jewel, and Star Princess, one after the other, to bring in their pilots.

Westerdam, with the other two cruise ships visible behind her. The Holland Americas all have white tops and dark bottoms, and are smaller than the others. (Click for larger image.)
Norwegian Jewel. The Norwegians all have goofy colorful paint jobs on either side of the bow. (Click for larger image.)
Star Princess. The Princesses are all white with a blocky stern and that sort of swooping crown over the logo on the stack. (Click for larger image.)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Warm Gray Day In Proximity To Water

The water is a presence everywhere in Port Angeles, visible at the bottom of most streets. @jfleck's theorem does not require a waterfront home with moorage to be provable. Went walkabout around my neighborhood just now, taking pictures of the boats in yards and alleys and on the quiet streets. These would be (just some of) the boats that have NOT been trailered down to the water this weekend in really nice boating weather. In some cases appear not to have been anywhere for a good while.

Westside streets and alleys, May 18, 2013. The people in the next yard have lots of rhododendron still freshly blooming. (Click for larger image.)

The thing(s) to notice here: lilacs on the left. Strait of Juan de Fuca below. Freighter going past. San Juan Island on the other side.

... (Click for larger image.)

Truth: the rhodies are mostly past their prime, and the madrona trees likewise; but the lilacs are splendid. In the vacant lots, alas, scotch broom is peaking.

... (Click for larger image.)

LOTS more boats in the camera, and plenty visible as little specks out on the Strait. Must note however, that with slightly different framing this could have been a photo essay on the number of vehicles per household (trucks, boats, trailers, cars; functional and not), or the way people ornament their dooryards.

Scotch broom invading the lot with the trees (Click for larger image.)
Lilacs across the alley (Click for larger image.)

Where was all this? Thankyou satellites for talking to the GPS in my camera, and thankyou iPad for the location pin.

Exactly where (Click for larger image.)

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Journey North Says, and Other Updates

Shoutout to @jfleck , who writes about water and climate at the Albuquerque Journal, for this new-to-me visualizer, the WPC Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts. I really shouldn't complain, but it's relentlessly sunny here right now. My inclination is to cower indoors.

Journey North's Gray Whale section says it's "rush hour for moms and babies". Since I'm not going to get out to La Push at a low tide before I have to head for Florida again, that will have to do for whale news. For not-news, look again at the post about seeing a whale on April 21.

Work on the Elwha River's dam removal project is stopped for at least another month while the National Park and the contractors and the city and the tribe and other water users sort out the sad fact that the new water treatment plant and all its intake works were underdesigned and have been overwhelmed by silt and debris coming down the river from behind the former dams. It's more fun to think about the ever-changing re-making of the river itself and the nearshore. Once again Tom Roorda has been way up in the middle of the air looking at it, and sharing what he sees. New land continues to grow on the rez side of the river.

The Elwha River flows into the Strait, May 1. Thank you to Tom Roorda for permission to show this image. (Click for larger image.)

Did I mention the days are long?

4 May 2013 Pacific Daylight Time
Begin civil twilight 5:15 a.m.
Sunrise 5:50 a.m.
Sunset 8:32 p.m.
End civil twilight 9:08 p.m.

It's starting to melt up on Hurricane Ridge, but there's still a lot of snow up there and on into the high country. Will the Obstruction Point Road open for July 4th weekend? Seems unlikely; last year it wasn't open until the middle of August. I stare at the lines on the graph and try to guess.

Snow-Water Equivalent at the Waterhole Snotel, May 4, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

Went to Portland on April 29. The daylight is long, we did it as a day trip. Drive drive drive, lab work, consult clinical trial doctor, drive drive drive some more, back home again. I'm still stable, still in the trial. There was big news for a shipwatcher: Zidell Marine's current barge under construction, which I've been watching month by month from the windows of OHSU, seems to be finished. All fresh paint, and waiting down on the ramp leading into the Willamette River. It's now five days later, but either it hasn't launched yet, or the Portland news sites aren't reporting on her launch. She's not listed yet on the amazingly long list of barges Zidell Yards has built in its various incarnations, presently Zidell Marine.

Zidell Marine's barge ST 23 from the windows of the lab on the 3rd floor of OHSU, April 29, 2013 (Click for larger image.)
...from the windows of the oncology waiting area, 7th floor of OHSU, April 29, 2013 (Click for larger image.)