Friday, May 8, 2009

Day 31: Gazzam Lake Preserve

Today I swam one of the least developed shoreline areas on Bainbridge, the shore of Gazzam Lake Preserve. Access was difficult, I had to bushwhack in my wetsuit, but it was worth the trouble. Here's a picture of the shore (left) showing gigantic trees growing undistirbed all the way down to the high tide line. Fantastic.

Another calm day, and I found myself noticing something very small, a barnacle feeding frenzy (right). That's a clamshell in the upper left, and small barnacles enlarged in this close-up photo. Click the photo to enlarge even more and look for the fan-like cirri (legs). Barnacles are small crustaceans that live on their back, kicking their feet up into the water to filter out food.

As if that's not strange enough, there's the even stranger barnacle mating strategy, with the very long prehensile penises that allow mating while the animals are both locked inside their own houses. Mating for the anti-social.

These barnacles are making hay from the ongoing plankton bloom that is keeping visibility down. At least I could see well enough to make it a great swim.

air temp: 58F
water temp: 47F
May 8, 2009, 4pm, mostly sunny
wind from N, 0-3 mph
medium tide, rising
visibility 8-12 feet
today's distance: 0.98 mile
total so far: 35.34 miles

crabs, crab rock
deserted shore

Today's access is either a long walk from Fletcher's Landing, or finding access from somewhere near the end of Crystal Springs Rd. Since Crystal Springs Rd is part of my neighborhood, I choose the hunt.

I drive to near the end of Crystal Springs Rd and find a vacant area where I can park and try to bushwhack to the beach. It's a long, steep, brushy hill leading down to the water. It works ok, although the last 30 vertical feet are almost straight down, I have to use trees like a ladder. Then I'm on a beautiful and deserted beach, with a view south towards Rich Passage and home (left).

I walk a mile north to the place just south of Fletcher's Landing where I got out last time. I pass the Gazzam Lake Preserve trail, and the undeveloped shore in the picture above. It's nice to see what an undeveloped shoreline looks like. There are only a few places on Bainbridge where houses could be built but aren't. And now I'm one of the few people to know that from close-up personal experience.

I get in the water, curious about what things will look like after the big storm of several days ago. The plankton bloom is still hanging in there, and the water looks about the same as during my last swim.

Swimming south, I find another Bainbridge funicular (right). Click the image to magnify, you can see the cable car at the top and the cables coming down to a concrete landing pad on the beach. Now that's determination to use the beach.

Here's a moon snail that was sliding among the rocks and gravel (left), I've usually seen them on sand. There is sand just a tiny bit deeper here, so maybe it's worth a brief walkabout on gravel for this big snail.

The ocean isn't remarkable downslope from the undeveloped beach, that's interesting. I don't know what I expected, but I thought I'd notice that the undeveloped shore somehow made a difference in the water. Nope. It looks the same. The gravel beach at the north end of Crystal Springs Rd is covered with barnacles, and somehow I notice them whipping the water in their feeding frenzy. I haven't noticed them feeding so vigorously anywhere else, it's worth trying to get a good photo (see barnacles at the top right of this post).

Then I'm out and bushwhacking back up the hill, thankfully nobody notices me and I'm away in the car, sneaking in and out for another private access success.

1 comment:

Crazed Mom said...

This is awesome! I can visit your blog and pretend I'm checking out the shoreline and tide pools!

Thanks for being a reader of my blog. :)