Wednesday, February 06, 2013

West Beach

Sound Waters is held every year on the first Saturday of February and whether I stay for the afternoon classes or skip out after lunch to go to the beach, it's always a good day.  This year they moved the venue from Langley to Oak Harbor High School, so I started near the north end of the island and worked my way south.

West Beach was calmer than on my last visit - back on December 17th when a storm coincided with a record high tide and caused a lot of damage to both homes and bulkheads.

Gravel Beach:  17 December 2012

This community is a poster child for imprudent development. It certainly isn't sustainable in the long run, particularly with rising sea levels.  At least not without a great deal of expense and heavy duty fortification.


It's a wonderful place at low tide on a sunny July afternoon, but events like December's storm are exactly what built this ephemeral spit of land and what will wallop it again and again.  Peat ledges on the foreshore are evidence of the beach's landward retreat.  Tsunami warnings are reminders of the beach's lack of elevation and proximity to shifting plate boundaries.  The old failed seawalls at the south end are a fitting monument.

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