Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 36: Pleasant Beach

Great swimming off Pleasant Beach, the fun continues. The nearshore ocean bottom is covered with a thick bed of 3-dimensional plant life, including some of the most magnificent eelgrass beds I've yet seen. The thick tall eelgrass beds are easily 6 feet tall in places, and so thick it's difficult to part the leaves and see the bottom.

Fish and all the other eelgrass animals are plentiful and easy to see, the cover seems to make them less likely to dash away when I swim near them. The rock sole above right was a fantastic find, and it never did swim away. After I came along it just slowly hovered off the bottom and moved almost imperceptibly into thicker cover. Finally, it hid it's head ostrich-like under some sea lettuce and seemed satisfied.

Lots of tubesnouts in this area, and juvenile salmonids, small and large surfperch, crabs, piddocks, geoducks, a few oysters, moon snails. Pretty much all of my favorites.

Wow, a great beach and close to home. A sweet closure indeed to cross through the last few miles heading for the start-finish line less than a mile south now.

air temp: 66F
water temp: 54F
June 10, 2009, 1:30 pm, sunny
wind 0-5 mph, from S
extremely low tide, slack
visibility 5-15 feet
today's distance: 0.87 mile
total so far: 40.07 miles

today's notables:
rock sole
juvenile salmonids (species unknown)
thick eelgrass, also kelp, algae

I park at Beck Rd and walk on the beach north and west to my start at the Schel-Chelb Estuary, a restored estuary that hosts spawning chum salmon in the fall. Very nice project that looks like a success to me (only an eyeball survey, no data).

As soon as I drop into the knee-deep water, I find thick eelgrass beds and lots of animals. Fish, crabs, etc. Kelp covers every underwater surface of a floating dock. The water is a bit murky, but I can see well enough to have a great swim, mostly about 10 feet or so. One new sighting is a snake prickleback (right) an interesting little eel-like fish (right).

Once again I see many jellyfish, small and large. They are all around, in the more open water and also among the eelgrass beds. Here are two that caught my eye.

First I swim east to Lynwood Center, then south along the shore past Beck Rd. The underwater plants are thick at the corner and south to Beck Rd, the water has a thick, soupy look and feel, with a slick surface (right, a view of the surface). Not sure if it shows up in the picture.

The view towards Bremerton (right) from the beach looks in the direction of the naval base. Twice I've seen aircraft carriers scooting through this channel towards Bremerton and they are BIG. They make the channel and nearly 300 foot ferry boats look tiny.

One more swim and then the grand finale June 27th!

I come across two crabs fighting over a dead fish, each of them managing to tear off pieces to eat. They tug and pull every now and then,, but neither can get the fish away from the other crab so eventually they resume eating, each from their end (left).

The eelgrass is so thick and tall here that I have to swim through it, even though I'm in about 6 feet of water. Nice. I come to a floating dock and find a stunning view of feather duster worms upside down on the bottom of the float, with the streaming kelp and algae that cover the anchor cables in the background (right).

I'm approaching the channel marker at Lytle Beach, this is really my home waters. Lytle Beach is a very cute road end beach with public ownership very limited. It has an informal public park shared reasonably well with the private landowners nearby. There have been rough spots in the relationship, but mostly the sharing works. From here, I can see my start/finish clearly, Ft. Ward state park which is really my closest home water and beach (left).

No comments: