About Me

My photo
Just a meandering soul sharing my backyard. Visit my Flickr page too! www.flickr.com/photos/meanderingwa/

Friday, January 27, 2012

Whoopee At The Beach

I cannot believe how quickly the week has flown.  The moderate weather is a nice change from last weeks frigid cold, high winds and freezing rain.

Friday I was able to get into work and the forecast was good for the weekend.  I had made plans early in January to join the Long Beach Cleanup on Saturday January 21.  All week I worried that the roads would not allow getting to the beach.  Here severe snows are often followed by rapid melt and flooding. 

The Community of Long Beach was enjoying 50 degree weather while we at home were under snow.  Just one of those mysterious oddities that makes life here an adventure.  I made record time driving the ~250 miles in 4 1/2 hours.  I took the long way, south to Kelso then over to the coast following the Columbia River.  This highway was the only one for which I could find a reliable road report.  I saw evidence of a bit of mud slide in the hills, but nothing held me back and I was at the beach, easily and safely

I stayed at the Adrift Hotel.


This older building is under renovation and the new owners are using a very spare, minimalist approach.  Repurposed materials, basic comfort.  The room was clean and the heating system worked very well.  I could see the water from my room window.

In the lobby there was a riding string of bikes available at no charge for the guests.  They were stout colorful 1 speed bikes, just my thing.

 The wonderful boardwalk which runs along the beach starts right at the end of the parking lot.

I treated myself to dinner at El Compadre a local Mexican restaurant.  I have eaten at their place near Kelso and they have a wonderful grilled Game Hen on the menu.  Lightly spicy , dressed with lime, I love it.

Saturday morning dawned pretty and sunny overhead.  But no one was fooled by the ominous clouds out at sea.  Overnight winds were well in excess of 50 mph and there was more to follow.  Beach Cleanup was rain or shine and I was happy and eager to get started.

I picked up a couple bags and a pair of grabbers and got some needed detail info on cleaning up.  Unfortunately the needed info was that of dealing with potential tsunami debris from the Japan disaster.  Small debris is already appearing and they do expect to find identifiable personal effects and potentially body parts, particularly sneakers with feet.

I consider finding both a very important task.  If the families and friends of the victims can find peace in the return of personal belongings, I am proud to do my part.

The tide was somewhat high when we started and the shore was alive with swirling clouds of shorebirds.  It was hard to apply myself to work I so wanted to watch their amazing flight. 

Overall this beach is one of the clean ones.  It is regularly visited by local residents who have their own route and section they oversee and keep picked up.  But even with these regulars, we found plenty to gather today.  I found a baffling variety and number of bottle caps; pop and milk.  A very large number of shotgun shell casings.  A major amount of line and small sections of  fish net debris.

People spread out along the beach.  I worked back and forth up to the dunes down to the water and back up to the dunes.  I got to where I could look at the sand and vegetative contour above high tide and see where items might be buried.  The grabbers made quick work of finding buried plastic bags and more rope and line.  One good feature of boat lines is that they are often colored bright blue or yellow, easy to spot.

I found a large Styrofoam block with a bamboo pole lashed into it.  Was this from Japan? It is hard to say for sure.  It was easily 6 feet tall and the Styrofoam and bamboo were very worn and broken.

That is a bundle of fishing net with a large branch caught up in it.  I placed it thus, along with a heavy bag of junk I had collected to try to anchor it in place awaiting the truck pick up.  Winds were picking up and blowing everything about.  I continued to work the area until the trunk came and then proceeded on.  At this point the winds really became fierce and I had to turn my back to the water.  It was everything I could to to keep standing.  I observed the blowing sand and tried to capture how it was running in drifts towards the grassy dune area.

I picked about in this area investigating the rough areas in front of me.  Many of them held bits of line or plastic that I struggled to get into my bag.  After the winds passed I looked down the beach to see if anyone else was crazy enough to still be out here...

Yup still crazy.

The sun came out again, then went away and then it got windy; rinse and repeat.  By noon I had walked down the beach to the next road entrance and back to my original spot.  Even though I had picked up a lot on my way down beach, as had many others, I still found two more bag loads on the way back.  I found one treasure beyond compare

I kid you not!  No I didn't keep it.

I ducked back to my room for some lunch and coffee and by 2:00 the sun was out again.  I revisited the beach with my last bag and filled it up while strolling and enjoying simply being out.  The tide was dropping and it looked like the worse of the weather was past.  Fill the bag and back for another warm-up with coffee.

As sunset approached I visited the beach one more time.  Tonight there was Razor Clam digging permitted and with the dramatic sky I hoped to capture some nice pictures.

Long Beach is Kite Flying central.  The World Kite Museum is here and once again, I wonder why I don't make a point of trying this.  I have never flown a kite.

I walked down to the water edge.  Salty foam drifted about.  Some of it tumbled along the beach like pearls.

The clam diggers, with their clam tubes started to gather working the falling tide.

It was getting so cold.  Razor Clams are worth the effort, but oh so cold and wet for the hunters.  The sunset seemed to take forever,  The wind was really brisk and I didn't bring my gloves. 

I love the reflected sky in the wet sand of low tide.

Off to 42nd Street Cafe where I had a stunning Seafood Stew prepared with a Spanish sofrito.


I am eager to get back and spend an extra day.  Perhaps I will get to the Kite Museum once and for all and actually fly a kite.  If the weather is good I can use a bike to ride the boardwalk and then the discovery trail, a 18 mile round trip.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, Marti, but do we have to wait until next spring for another post?