Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day 19: Fay Bainbridge State Park

Today I reach the northeast corner of Bainbridge Island, after starting Oct 12 on the southwest corner. The distance may not be quite halfway, but it feels like halfway. I'm going to make it around, and my target date for finishing is July 4, 2009. I hope to get others to join me to finish the Swim Around Bainbridge on that most American of days (and likely a warm day!).

I crossed massive sand flats today, on a very low minus tide. That's nearly 12 feet lower than the high tide Monday morning. We have some fairly big tides here, and that shapes the nearshore life.

Fay Bainbridge State Park is a popular place, and a favorite family spot. My wife played there as a girl living east of Seattle, and she took me there right after we met (before we moved here). It's a beautiful northwest beach.

Today's theme is crabs, both observing and being.

air temp: 55F
water temp: 45F
March 3, 3:30 pm, mostly sunny
wind calm
very low tide, slack
visibility 10-20 feet, occasionally near zero
today's distance: 1.46 mile
total so far: 20.89 miles

today's notables:
geoducks and piddocks
northern feather duster worms, orange tube worms
moon snails
huge sand flats with lots of eelgrass

I get in the water near Brackenwood Lane, and it's a very low tide. I can see shallow sandflats spreading far from the water's edge. Without planning, I start doing what I call a "crab crawl." Swimming a front crawl stroke but planting my fingertips on the bottom on each stroke. I'm "walking" on my fingertips like a crab, in crab heaven habitat. There are dungeness crabs everywhere.

The flats are covered with eelgrass, and I found a funny patch in the sand that caught my attention:

Oh my, it's a crab buried in the sand. Let's go closer.

It's two crabs, in a mating embrace it seems. Soon after I took these pictures, the happy couple burst out of the sand and tried to scurry away.

I pursued them just long enough to get a couple of pictures of the two crabs embracing. The first one is blurry as they're racing away, then the next two show them more clearly, as they're calming down and settling down.

Finally, one last picture as they sneak away into the darkness of deeper water and thicker eelgrass.

These crabs are amazing and fun to watch. Here's more on their mating habits.

I see more tube worms here than I've yet seen, probably because I'm below the tidal zone and into habitats that never go dry at low tide. There are orange tube worms and feather duster worms.

Another sight I wonder about, two boats that have some sort of motors running while at anchor, and tubes going over the sides. Could they be dredging geoducks? I've heard about this, the dredgers blast water into the bottom to pick up geoducks. I find clouds of murky water with near-zero visibility when I swim by the boats, but that doesn't prove they're dredging. I find similar clouds elsewhere now and then.

Here's a map of progress to date. I'm on the opposite corner of the island from where I started!

View Larger Map

1 comment:

xpend83 said...

If you'd like to see some video of commercial geoduck harvest, click on the "Geoduck Harvest" link at: