Saturday, March 06, 2010

Scatchet Head

Scatchet Head is the middle of the three big south facing headlands on the southern portion of Whidbey Island (Possession Point is to the east, Double Bluff to the west).
The eastern portion of Scatchet Head is a row of homes built over the beach on some of the awfullest riprap on the Sound. The view is great. The storms are exciting (waves from the south; landslides from above). The location is unwise.

The western portion of the headland, from the homes westward toward Maple Point, consists of high forested bluffs - and seems to suffer from less erosion that one might expect - certainly less than at Possession or Double Bluff or the bluffs just around the corner to the northwest. Maybe this is due to more resistant geology or more dissipative bathymetry - or maybe it's something else.

Here's my idea. This straight stretch of bluffs is swash-aligned - the beach faces directly into the dominant fetch. This minimizes longshore transport and results in a more protective beach - sort of like a broad pocket beach. Erosion is ultimately about sediment loss and the only way for gravel to escape this beach is around Maple Point at the west end - and it may do this slowly.

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