On Saturday afternoon, the north and south shores of West Point were very different places. A strong south wind was hammering South Beach. The waves wrapped tightly around the riprap at the lighthouse, rapidly transforming into much more gentle westerly waves breaking along the sandy North Beach. Well, sandy at least until it vanishes below the enormous rock revetment that cuts off the beach in the vicinity of the old tidal inlet.
The south bluffs in Discovery Park have been active this winter - there was dirt sliding over the Olympia beds from above even as I watched - and it wasn't even raining. It's interesting to contrast the photo with ones taken two winters ago (November 2009; February 2010). There's also been fresh sliding on the north side where the riprapped spit merges with the bluff, toppling trees and spilling mud onto the beach.
Last year I chose West Point for a photo essay that was posted on the Coastal Care website:
Coastal Care - Beach of the Month - November 2010
By the way, this is a fantastic website for people interested in understanding and protecting shorelines. The organization has an international scope, highlights a wide range of coastal issues, and hosts hundreds of great photos.
AERIAL VIEW (Google Maps)
Another AERIAL VIEW (Department of Ecology 2006 Aerial Photo)
(I'm not sure yet whether this second link will always work as predicted)