Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The north and south sides of the peninsula that ends in Cattle Point couldn't be much different. The south side is high grassy bluffs looking over the broad gravel strand of South Beach and twenty miles of water at the Olympic Mountains. The north side is forested and slopes down to Griffin Bay, where it is broken into a wonderful series of barrier lagoons. At the west end, down towards Fourth of July Beach, is Old Town Lagoon. At the east end, down towards Cape San Juan and it's exclusive nest of high end real estate, is Third Lagoon. And in the middle is Jakle's Lagoon, with it's gravel barrier, its lagoon, and its forest.
There is some evidence of an occasional tidal opening near the west end, but certainly not a persistent or regular connection. The wide gravel barrier gives rise to a broad marsh and eventually to a lagoon, its edges lined thickly with old drift logs. The pickle weed (Salicornia virginica) was doing its best to survive a colorful infestation of dodder (Cuscuta salina), a plant parasite that apparently takes many forms the world over.
I walked the cobbly beach to Third Lagoon, and then worked my way back via the mossy trail that follows the top edge of the bluff. On one shady section of beach, the upper intertidal gravel was covered with small snails (Littorina littorea, I assume). I've never seen them gathered so densely and have no explanation.
I've exceeded by usual quota of Latin, normally enforced by my ignorance of biology. Fortunately, the evening that followed this great day of beaches included dinner with people who actually understand this stuff.