Monday, August 27, 2007

49th Parallel

There is a nice overlook and a trail down to the beach where the big gas-pressurized electric cables cross to Vancouver Island - or so I learned from the sign. Then I walked south to the minimally marked border. I guess anyone who tries to sneak in to the States via Point Roberts is sort of foolish anyway -- it's basically a dead end. I didn't want to do anything to alarm the guys at Homeland Security, so I didn't stray to far into the U.S. Maybe a little, but it was for the sake of photos and geological observations, right?

This is a nice gravel beach with a very broad sandy low-tide terrace (it's basically the outer part of the Fraser Delta). If the causeways have reversed long-term net drift directions, it sure isn't obvious here. There's some evidence of erosion, mainly at the foot of old slides, but for the most part the bluffs looked pretty stable. There's a broad backbeach and large firs growing on the face of the slope. There is a large drainage outfall structure just on the Canadian side of the line with a small stream dribbling out onto the beach.

The Canadian side of the border has big homes hanging over the top of the bluff, but Monument Park on the American side looks like a wonderful forested shoreline. I'll have to visit it some day - but I'll come in from the American side!


In general, I title my posts with place names, but I suppose historical artifacts are another option. If I can called one Bathtubs, I guess I can also call one Wheels. The tire doesn't appear to go with the hub, though they weren't too far away from one another. I wonder if they are Canadian, or they drifted north from the states? (I suspect the former).

English Bluff

English Bluff is the western side of the Point Roberts peninsula. The Canadian side is considerably more built up than the American side (it's basically suburban Vancouver). Homes line both the top and the bottom of the bluff. Amazing variety of bulkheads and foundations. It looks like they're on sewer at least, judging from the manhole covers in the beach.


Point Roberts began as an island in Georgia Strait, but thousands of years of sedimentation has subsequently attached it to North America as the Fraser Delta has engulfed its northern end. Now it's a Canadian peninsula that hangs down into the U.S. Last year I explored the American side (Lighthouse Park and Maple Beach). This year, I checked out the Canadian side.

Tsawwassen, which is an extension of aptly named Delta, B.C., is the site of two major causeways that extend out to the deep water at the edge of Roberts Bank. The first causeway connects to the Deltaport industrial complex, where coal and containers are loaded and unloaded. The second causeway serves the BC Ferry Terminal and extends southwest almost to the waterward extension of the U.S. border.

A gravel beach has formed on the south side of the ferry causeway, maybe from the fill material originally used to build the roadway? A pocket beach has built in the corner formed by the causeway and the original English Bluff shoreline, presumably as a result of northerly transport of material in the lee of this unintentional breakwater.