Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chocolate Beach

The Chain Islands run in a line out of Ganges Harbor and make a great island hopping kayak tour. All are rocky and there is neither sediment nor opportunity for beaches to form. With this notable exception. Here on Third Sister Island, shell debris has found a place to accumulate and it has formed a wonderful white beach consisting almost entirely of broken shell fragments.

From a distance, I expected it to be a tombolo, but it is actually just a low rocky area where a beach has been able to form on one side. If the process that formed it is still active, which I expect it would be, then this beach is fairly young. Otherwise I would expect the shell debris to continue to accumulate and to wash over and cover the rocky backshore. I was surprised it hadn't. I wonder if the perfect storm could actually clear the shell completely off this beach, requiring time to rebuild.

Mark and I did it on our own, but this beach is the destination for guided half-day kayak trips out of Ganges and maybe it's called Chocolate Beach because it's where the chocolate bars come out of the dry bags. I was curious about how these daily visits affect the beach itself? One of the lessons of Cama Beach was that without people, the berm consists of largely intact clam shell, especially after a big storm. Once you let people back in, it is all rapidly turned to crushed shell.

AERIAL VIEW (Google Maps)

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