Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bush Point

Unfortunately, my Canon was filled with salt water, the normal backup camera I keep in the car wasn't in the car, and all I had left was the camera on my cellphone, which just didn't do the late afternoon light much justice.  I stopped at Libbey Beach, Ebey's Landing, Camp Casey, and Keystone Spit to watch the waves rolling southward down Admiralty Inlet (I've included a couple of cell phone pictures at the bottom of this post).

Bush Point was my last stop before the light ran out and I had to head for the Clinton ferry.  The wind was howling from the north and locals were pulling up and letting their children and their dogs out to stand in the spray.  Waves were crashing into the old restaurant/inn, launching themselves up through the decking of the wharf, and blowing over the two-story structure in big sheets.

Bush Point - one month ago

The tide was scheduled to peak a bit higher than 10' MLLW around 4PM (when I arrived), but the surge added more than a foot (here's the Seattle record), so the the water was right around MHHW.  Imagine if this storm had arrived on a 2' higher tide!


Ebey's Landing
Camp Casey

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hastie Lake

The strong westerly winds were coming out of a big hole in the clouds over the Strait, so I actually had some late afternoon sun.  Hastie Lake is a little farther south on West Beach and is the site of a small boat ramp and a row of homes built on an old barrier beach.  This would have been amazing to watch on a really high tide!

Tonight I'll try posting some of the videos I took this afternoon, including the one from here - my camera's last valiant effort before swallowing salt water and dying in a frenzy of small electronic gasps.


West Beach

It's nice when storms come on weekends and state holidays - that way I don't sit in the office wishing I were on the beach.  I just go.  I headed for Whidbey via the northern route, figuring I could follow the afternoon's high tide and the shifting winds down the island.  Deception Pass was quiet, as was Ala Spit on the northeast side of the island, and I was tempted to question the wisdom of the forecasts, but I arrived at West Beach to find the wind coming out of the west - furiously.

Cliff Mass's discussion of today's windstorm

(located just west of this beach, I was there just before the peak)

The tide wasn't terribly high.  If the water had been 1-2 feet higher, which it could easily have been, this storm would have caused a lot more damage.  As it was, the wave runup only occasionally reached the bluff toe and we weren't even close to having logs washed over the road.

Swantown, April 2006 (earlier post on Gravel Beach)



Ala Spit

The last time I visited Ala Spit, in early October, the park was closed and there were three excavators on the beach removing the old concrete rubble and repositioning rocks and logs (below).  Today, the crews were gone, and nature was busy editing their final project.  The neck of the spit had been eroding for a long time - for a bunch of reasons - and the junk that had been dumped on the beach to protect it wasn't helping.  It may have been making it worse (Ala Spit, 2007-2008).

The project involved pulling out all the hard parts that were keeping the spit from responding constructively to wave action and adding sand and gravel in the form of a new higher berm.  The berm is a bit higher than the natural berm would have been and the waves are already cutting a scarp into it, but that's okay.  And this winter, I suspect waves will cut through the new berm, creating a lower and slightly broader feature. That will also allow the logs to distribute themselves more evenly - right now they are packed into a narrow band on the steep upper beachface.  Some of the eroded sediment will be added to the beachface; some will get washed over and down the backside.  The salicornia (pickle weed) will object initially, but will soon remember that this is how it always used to happen before the spit was buried in big rock and concrete.


Here's what it looked like a month ago.