Monday, June 8, 2009

Day 35: Point White 2

Just another lousy day in paradise, and a bald eagle perched on a rock near Point White. Today I saw more wonderful bottom and shore on the southeast side of Point White. Kelp, algae, and non-native wireweed make a thick bed of plants that are a great home to crabs, fish, and other animals. The bottom slowly changes from rocks and boulders to gravel to sand and eelgrass replaces the other plants.

Here's the biggest Dungeness crab I've ever seen, and he happens to be clutching a mate. I measured this crab at about 10 inches across the carapace, wow.

A lot of the crabs were mating, I saw maybe 10 or 20 mating pairs, including several different species--including red rock crabs and odd hairy-looking crabs that I think are helmet crabs.

The swimming here is loads of fun, I move slowly to watch everything. Lots of jellyfish including this one with a very yellow middle (left) and this fragile-looking clear one (right).

More big crabs than anywhere else I've seen, and lots of fish. Even one fairly large starry flounder that I scare up when I'm no more than a foot away. I get a close up view of it's eye as it startles and dashes away. A swimming raft near Pleasant Beach has schools of fish underneath, mostly surfperch, and one young lingcod lingering nearby.

air temp: 60F
water temp: 51F
June 7, 2009, 11 am, mostly cloudy
wind variable, 0-5 mph
extremely low tide, slack
visibility 5-10 feet
today's distance: 0.90 mile
total so far: 39.20 miles

today's notables:
starry flounder
breeding crabs, including BIG crabs
thick plants, kelp, wireweed, algae, eelgrass

I enter just east of the Point White channel marker and find better visibility and a fantastic view. Big boulders covered with kelp, algae, and wireweed make a thick 3-dimensional bed of plants and parting the canopy with my hands reveals lots of life.

The tide is still ebbing, and there's a slight current heading east so I drift with my camera and just watch everything. It's a bit chilly since I'm not generating any heat, so eventually I start swimming just to stay warm.

The bottom slowly changes to smaller rocks and eventually to sand, and near my exit on Pleasant Beach (just west of Lynwood Center) the eelgrass takes over. Rich, thick eelgrass several feet high, with lots of animals lurking on and around the plants.

As I get out, I look south towards Ft. Ward Park and the start--and end of my swim around Bainbridge Island. It's maybe a mile and a half away. Here's a photo looking south towards Ft. Ward from Pleasant Beach (right). THe point in the foreground is Lytle Beach, a popular community access point at the public road end and informal community park.

Here's a crab menagerie, this is just a small sample of the wonderful world of crabs on Point White.

1 comment:

Pacific Northwest Beachgirl said...

Hey - this is a very cool blog! So glad to discover it, love the pictures and descriptions of our PS sealife