Point White is my new favorite spot. I found a huge kelp forest covering the bottom and the scattered boulders. Wow. Thick kelp provides a nice 3-dimensional living habitat. Here's a kelp crab on...kelp (left).
I saw more fish than anywhere else, a lot more, including the hugest school of shiner surfperch that streamed past me for minutes. It seemed like there were many, many thousands of them.
Point White had miraculous abundance, at least today, like a tropical coral reef. My other favorites included some luminescent-looking jellyfish (left), many different crabs, etc., etc. More pictures below. It was a bit cloudy, so I didn't get very good pictures of anything. I'll probably go back for more pictures.
During this swim, as I came around the corner of Point White, I saw my finish for the fisrt time since I swam south away from Ft. Ward park last October. Now I'll be coming back to Ft. Ward from the northwest in just two more miles of swimming.
Here's a photo of Point White from the north, looking at the channel marker, the mainland of the Kitsap Peninsula is in the background, and the Bremerton ferry is steaming by. The kelp forest is just under the surface here.
air temp: 73F
water temp: 52F
May 29, 2009, 4 pm, sunny
wind N, 0-5 mph
extremely low tide, slack
visibility 2-10 feet
today's distance: 1.13 mile
total so far: 38.30 miles
huge schools of surfperch, flatfish, rock gunnel hiding under kelp, crabs, jellyfish, etc.
Just before this swim, I got a tip from Lyon McCandless about the boulder garden near Point White. I'm eager as I get in at the Point White pier.
The water is cloudy, but a lot better than last time. I'll be able to see enough to make it worthwhile. Just as I'm starting, I see a nice little 6-inch flatfish. It's not close enough to identify, but a good sign.
Swimming south towards Point White, I find bunches of kelp, more than I've seen anywhere else this close to shore. I'm excited. Soon I'm swimming through a lush 3-dimensional kelp forest. The tidal current keeps the kelp fairly close to the bottom, but it still provides lots of cover and there are lots of animals taking advantage of it and hiding among the leaves. Parting the leaves shows crabs and fish almost everywhere, including an interesting looking green gunnel that kept darting just far enough away to elude me.
Near the actual Point White, a massive school of shiner surfperch started streaming past me, and it went on for several minutes, a continuous flow of fish. It seemed like a million of them.
Rounding the Point, I saw Ft. Ward state park, my starting and finishing point. It's about a mile and a half away straight line distance, and about 2 swimming miles away. I can smell the finish of this swim around Bainbridge. Check out the map below, there's just one small unswum gap in the cove on the southwest end.
I'll be back to Point White, this is too good to visit just once.
View Swim Around Bainbridge in a larger map