For about a week, WSB Forum members have been discussing Alki Beach volleyball tournaments and a perception that they’re taking up more of the sandy beach than past summers. Many questions were asked about matters such as permits, parking, and rules; we asked Seattle Parks for answers, and have added the reply to the Forums thread, which you’ll find here – as the discussion continues. (One thing we learned from the Parks reply: The department publishes a regularly updated list of big events coming up at its parks citywide.)
That photo is courtesy of Bill and Margi Beyers, who have been trying to get Seattle Parks to remove those rocks placed in January in front of the damaged north Lincoln Park beach seawall. (Here’s our December coverage of that storm damage.) Last week, they e-mailed us about it, saying the rocks’ size “makes them environmentally unsustainable – the first strong north wind at a high tide will toss these rocks over the beach,” adding that Parks put sand and gravel over the rocks last week, which they didn’t see as a solution. After reading their concerns, we contacted Parks for comment – and today, we’ve learned that Parks is working on a plan that eventually would remove those rocks, but says it’s a “complex” situation – not simply a matter of scooping them up and taking them away. Read on for details of the concerns, and the response:
Lots of questions tonight about what looks like reddish-brown muck in the water along West Seattle shores – and some who saw it are sharing photos, too; the one above is from Cheryl via the WSB Facebook page. No, it’s not “red tide” (which as the state notes seldom looks “red” at all) – it’s another round of noctiluca, the non-toxic single-celled organisms that “bloom” when conditions are just right, and this year it’s already the second major wave – we mentioned it back in May, as well as last year, and the year before.
Two colorful photos to share from this weekend’s low-low tides: Top photo is courtesy of 12-year-old Max Rubin-Stencel, who took it on Saturday at Constellation Park south of Alki Point. If you know what type of eggs (?) those are, please advise via comments or e-mail – thanks! Next, Sunshine Adams-Toledo shared the photo of a blood star:
If you have an extra day off – or are otherwise flexible during the day – tomorrow’s low tide will be -2.8 at 2 pm (not quite as far out as the past three days, but close) and Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists will be out at Constellation Park and Lincoln Park (near Colman Pool) again, 11:30 am-3 pm.
Thanks to everyone who has shared views of this weekend’s low-low tides – tonight, we have more, starting with aerial images from pilot/photographer Craig Howard, from north Beach Drive (above) to Alki …
… and Duwamish Head:
Our next view is from Jim Edwards, looking back over at Alki from Centennial Park downtown:
Donna Barnett shared video as her daughter discovered a young octopus emerging from a shell – most of the voices, she says, are the Seattle Aquarium naturalists who were nearby:
(Monday P.S. – not sure if it’s the same one but a longer clip of a small octopus found in a shell, with naturalists on hand, can be seen here, on the Facebook page of longtime WSB sponsor Click! Design THat Fits.)
From Machel Spence, two photographs from Saturday – here, squid eggs at Lincoln Park:
And Machel’s daughter India with friend Isabel, holding moon snails:
Tomorrow, another chance to explore (gently!) at low-low tide – as with the past two days, it’ll be very low in the afternoon, minus three feet and then some – Monday’s lowest point will be at 1:11 pm, -3.4 feet.
Thanks to Leslie Dierauf of Beach Drive for sharing low-tide sights – today’s tide bottomed out at -3.3 less than an hour ago, so beach-walking conditions will still be great for a few hours, and Leslie points out that Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists are out. They’re at Constellation Park and Lincoln Park until 2 pm today.
Tomorrow’s low-low tide will be even further out – -3.6 at 12:23 pm Sunday; the volunteer beach naturalists will be back, same spots, 10:30 am-2:30 pm.
P.S. Remember you can always find the tide chart on the WSB Weather page!
Thanks to “Diver Laura” James for sharing the photo from today’s Keller Williams Realty RED Day volunteer event at Lincoln Park (mentioned in our “West Seattle Thursday” daily preview). Laura works with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, which partnered with KW to clean up the beach and dig up invasive plants, among other things, during today’s work.
(Click image to open a larger view)
With one more low-low tide coming up this afternoon (-1.7 at 3:12 pm), we’re sharing this scene from the month’s lowest low tide back on Sunday, photographed by Long Bach Nguyen over Alki Point and Constellation Park, as well as the north end of Beach Drive. He says it wasn’t the low tide that caught his eye so much as the geologic features of the area – explained here.
ADDED 1:53 PM: Thanks to Rob for pointing out in a Facebook comment that we’ll see even lower low tides on Memorial Day weekend – minus 3 feet, and then some, each afternoon from Saturday 5/25 through Monday 5/27.
Thanks to John Hinkey for the Alki photo from today’s low tide, -2 feet just before noon. This weekend, the afternoon low tides will be even lower: -2.6 at 12:43 pm on Saturday, -2.7 at 1:29 pm on Sunday. (Tomorrow, of course, Lincoln Park is the place to be before, during, and after the low-low tide – beach naturalists are part of the second installment of the Fauntleroy Community Association-presented Celebrate Lincoln Park, 10:30 am-2:30 pm tomorrow, full schedule here.)
From a distance, you might think those are birds on pilings, photographed at Constellation Park‘s north end, right by the Alki Avenue/Beach Drive bend. But take a closer look:
“Awesome feats of balance” is how Chas Redmond, who sent the close-up photo, put it; just minutes after his photo came in, Kate Harris sent the wider view, describing the rock creations as “cairns.” Not sure how the tide will treat them, but thanks to Chas and Kate for sharing photos!
ADDED 5:07 PM: Just after we published this, Michelle Laraux sent photos – including this one with the rock artist in the background:
(Photo by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
1:22 PM: Those are a few of the two dozen-plus people who were already getting to work on the beach at Constellation Park about an hour ago, with more arriving for the Beach Creeps Bicycle Club Beach Cleanup. It’s not that the beach is full of typical trash – more insidious, to beach and sea life, lots of styrofoam pieces and particles have washed up, and getting some of it out from where it’s mixed up with rocks and driftwood is a key objective. Still time for you to join, since they’re there till 3 – just check in at 63rd/Beach Drive (by the octopus sculpture that’s embedded in the sidewalk). Full report later.
4:54 PM: A closer look at the cleanup as it unfolded, from WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams:
(This photo and all others below are by Nick Adams for WSB)
As they arrived, volunteers were given what they needed, and sent off to work on the rocky beach:
Rachelle Kauffman worked under and between the driftwood:
Sticks made the best tools, as 7-year-old Cooper Guidry also found out:
The cleanup volunteers got some big pieces of debris of the beach, like the one Kris Blazina is hauling away:
Picking up the little things – like bits of styrofoam – mattered a lot too, though:
That’s part of what Scott Pietz was up to:
Background, dark sweatshirt, that’s the club’s publicity chair Michael D. Adams helping scour the shore:
This area of West Seattle shoreline is especially precious because it holds a marine-reserve area.
The cleanup was organized in the span of just a week:
Over the week, it went from a casual idea among friends, to an official capital-e Event that even had to get on the Parks Department radar, for a permit, and also trash pickup.
SUNDAY NOTE: In a just-posted comment, Willis from the Beach Creeps reports more than 40 people signed in as part of the event, and the group is thinking about sequels.
(Styrofoam debris on the beach; photo by Beach Creeps’ Guy Olson)
Since last Saturday, when we first mentioned the Alki Beach Creeps Bicycle Club‘s plan for a South Alki cleanup, the event tomorrow has drawn dozens of volunteers, more than a few local business sponsors donating treats and other support, and even Parks Department assistance with post-cleanup pickup. The Facebook event page for the cleanup has info on the final plan – so in case you’re interested in joining, but not a FB user, here are the key points:
*Optional bike ride to the cleanup starting point: Beach Creeps plan to leave El Chupacabra (2620 Alki SW) “no later than 11:30 am”
*Cleanup noon-3 pm (Saturday, March 2)
*Volunteers meet by the Constellation Park octopus sculpture (63rd SW/Beach Drive). Sign in and get your cleanup supplies (courtesy of Puget SoundKeeper Alliance)
*Seattle Parks plans to pick up the collected trash and debris (organizers are hoping to get a lot of styrofoam off the beach)
*Afterparty at Pioneer Coffee
If you haven’t been to Constellation Park – here’s a map.
(WSB reader photo taken under the building before the leak was fixed)
With warning signs still up on beaches south of Alki Point, we’re still getting questions about the status of the Harbor West condo-building sewage leak (3700 block of Beach Drive) blamed for the contamination, so we just followed up with Seattle Public Utilities. Spokesperson Ingrid Goodwin says they estimate the leak from pipes under the over-the-water building totaled “about 30,000 gallons over a nine-day period.” As for the status of repairs and contamination, she also tells WSB:
The repair was completed on Sunday, February 24, but bacteria levels at Cormorant Cove were slightly elevated on Monday. Therefore, the beach remains closed. SPU will continue to sample and work with Seattle King County Public Health to determine when the beaches can reopen. Per Seattle King County Public Health, we need two consecutive days of low bacteria levels to reopen the beach. We are hopeful that the beach can reopen by next week.
SPU is still investigating to determine if any penalties will be assessed or cost recovered.
The leak was reported to the city around the same time as the trimaran trouble on the beach south of Harbor West, but residents told WSB it predated the boat incident.
(Not the cleanup site, but not far! Beauty shot from Michael of the Beach Creeps)
Even before the crowds of spring and summer arrive, Alki Beach and points south need a helping hand or two, or ten, or a hundred. A group of bicycling friends is hoping you’ll lend yours for their planned cleanup one week from today – or at least donate trash bags and gloves:
The Alki Beach Creeps Bicycle Club is planning on doing a beach cleanup, March 2nd at noon.
We are going to start at Constellation Park and pick up as much of the trash as we can that afternoon. There is a HUGE mass of styrofoam and plastic on that side of the beach, along with a lot of random trash. We feel that it’s important to give back to our community and will do our best with our limited resources to do our part.
We have 15 members or so but anyone is free to attend. Trash bags, gloves, and beer (to keep us motivated) will gladly be accepted. Thank you very much and we look forward to your help keeping Alki looking creepy!
For questions about donations, please feel free to E-Mail: Michael D. Adams (Director of Marketing) at email@example.com
Guy Olson/Willis Mathiasen
Alki Beach Creeps Bicycle Club
Yes, we’re sure they know the rules; the beer’s no doubt for afterward. Anyway, now that spring cleanup season is here, let us know about yours – firstname.lastname@example.org – we already have a few more announcements in queue.
Thanks to Jason for the photo of the salvage crew arriving off Beach Drive to try to clean up what remains of the trimaran Nunga Nunga Nue (here’s its backstory), eight days after it first got into trouble in the area; we reported yesterday on the start of cleanup. Beach Drive Blog has updates, and we’ll be checking out the scene too. ADDED: Literally one minute after we published this, Maud sent this photo:
More to come.
ADDED 10:26 AM: The crew that came in by water says they’ll likely be working till noon or so:
Then, what remains will be evaluated.
As noted by BDB’s “Scupper” in comments on another thread, this is being done in conjunction with the state’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program, funded by surcharges on vessel licenses. We talked about it with the DNR the other day; they say that while it can be costly, it’s costlier to let sunken boats and debris like this damage or destroy coastal and underwater habitat.
Two updates from Beach Drive. First, the debris that once comprised a hand-built trimaran:
When we went by at midday today to find out the latest, we saw that boom around the wreckage. Bryan Flint from the state Department of Natural Resources tells WSB, “The containment boom was placed by the contractor to keep all the pieces in place. There is no petroleum leaking. The contractor was picking up the smaller pieces today and will be moving the bigger pieces tomorrow. If everything goes well they should have it all removed by tomorrow afternoon.” If you’re just tuning in to this saga, the debris are what’s left of a home-built trimaran that was given away at Shilshole; the man who took it wanted to tow it to Tacoma but got into trouble off West Seattle last week. The trimaran started breaking up in the water on the south side of the Harbor West Condos in the 3700 block of Beach Drive. After days of various travails, and with community help, the owner got his smaller power boat out of the water yesterday and towed it away on land (no sign of him, his van, or the small boat when we went by today), leaving behind the big-boat wreckage. The state says they always try to recover the costs of handling a mess like this, but they aren’t very hopeful, as the man’s reported lack of financial resources is partly what led to the problems in the first place.
Meantime, Cormorant Cove city-owned beach on the north side of Harbor West has another “CLOSED” sign up:
(Photo shared by Jodi)
That’s because of the building’s ongoing sewage leak, not believed to be related to the boat trouble (according to residents with whom we’ve spoken), but officially reported to the city over the weekend while all that was unfolding. Ingrid Goodwin from Seattle Public Utilities tells WSB, “SPU environmental compliance inspectors are investigating the leak to determine how much sewage may have leaked or is still leaking. Some of things they look at is how many breaks are in the line and how long the line may have been leaking. These are all questions we’ll need to work with the property owner to obtain answers, therefore it will take more time to determine the volume. Having said that, our main and immediate focus is working with the property owner to ensure that the broken line is repaired correctly as soon as possible. With a leak of this nature, we typical allow up to 10 days for the property owner to fix the problem, but that can vary depending on the case.”
The smaller of two boats that have been in trouble for almost a week off the Beach Drive shore is now out of the water. Good Samaritans helped the boats’ owner get the Bayliner off the shore north of Harbor West Condos and onto the trailer. Now, as for what happens to the wreckage of the trimaran just south of the building:
We have spoken this morning to representatives of two state agencies that have gotten involved with the situation to some degree, the Department of Ecology and the Department of Natural Resources. Here’s the short version, with more details to come: Ecology was on site over the weekend, helping remove fuel and oil from the power boat – the trimaran, he says, had never held fuel – and adds that there are no more “pollutants” on the trimaran (the owner removed possibly hazardous everyday substances like cleaning fluid). Now, as the Ecology spokesperson told us, it’s more of a “solid-waste issue” than anything else. A DNR spokesperson, meantime, says the fact the broken-up boat is on private property is compounding things – they are determining jurisdiction, but were expecting to have someone come out sometime today and take a look to start sorting things out. The Ecology spokesperson says they always try to recover the cost of these operations from the boats’ owner, but in most cases – as appears to be the case in this one – the owner’s lack of financial resources was a big reason for the trouble in the first place. More to come.
The smaller of two boats that got into trouble along the Beach Drive shore and ended up just south of the Harbor West Condos was moved to the beach on the building’s north side this afternoon. As night fell, its owner had his van and a trailer down on the Harbor West ramp and was in what sounded like an extensive discussion with someone about whether he would be able to get the boat onto the trailer tonight – the tide was all the way out at sundown. We’ll check back later. Meantime, residents say the state Department of Ecology is expected tomorrow to clean up the major debris from what remains of the trimaran Nunga Nunga Nue, which the man was trying to tow with the smaller boat after reportedly getting it for free as a fixer-upper. Back on Wednesday, Beach Drive Blog found the boats and owner (who told them it was “not an emergency”) off Emma Schmitz Viewpoint; Thursday, we learned the problem had moved about half a mile north to the water by Harbor West, with the boats alternating between grounded and mostly submerged over the ensuing days.
Compounding all this to some degree is a sewage problem beneath Harbor West (BDB photographed a warning sign posted on the north side Monday), though we are told this predates the boat situation – we’ll be checking with authorities when government offices reopen tomorrow.
This morning, we went out looking for the trimaran last reported in trouble off Emma Schmitz Viewpoint, as noted by Beach Drive Blog. Didn’t see it and hoped that meant all was well. Then we got the photo from Michelle, who says that since she’s taken it, the trimaran has now gone completely aground by Harbor West (the over-water condos in the photo). She says the captain is safe – she helped him get out of the water earlier, and he’s now napping. What happens next depends on when he wakes up and what happens when the tide comes in.
1:38 PM UPDATE: Police were at the scene earlier checking on this but then were notified the boat’s owner is OK; we took a new photo (above). Neighbor Michelle, meantime, reports he has called the Coast Guard and is coming back at high tide.
10:44 PM NOTE: This isn’t resolved yet, according to Michelle, who says the owner is apparently going to try again tomorrow. Beach Drive Blog has an update, and commenters here have some additional info, including reports that the trimaran was recently listed as available for free.
It’s the next best thing to a walk on the beach! The time-lapse video showing 30 hours of Alki tides is shared by Craig Howard, who writes:
I made a three-minute time lapse film of the tide cycle during our recent rather extreme tides (+12 to -1). We’re beginning to build a film catalog for our nonprofit, ExploreOcean, with tides being one of the fundamentals.
Just thought some of your readers might be as fascinated by the tides as I always am.
P.S. Any time you’re looking for tide info, we have it on the WSB Weather page.
The past few days’ high tides have juggled at least three rafts on West Seattle’s shores.
(August 2012 photo by Gary Jones)
Above, the renowned Joy D. Smith Wildlife Raft is missing from its usual spot between Alki Point and the west end of Alki Beach Park. Guy Smith tells WSB it drifted away late Sunday or early Monday; if you see it, please call 206-937-8742.
Just before and after we heard from Guy, we got two other reports of found rafts, but he says neither is his, so we’re publishing these photos in hopes someone recognizes one or both of them:
Melinda photographed that one at Constellation Park (off Beach Drive, south of Alki Point) at mid-afternoon Monday, saying she saw it float up “from the south” the day before. Next, Megan says she spotted the next one on the north beach at Lincoln Park, “just around the point”:
No guarantee these are still where they were when photographed, but the highest high tides are on the wane so there’s a chance they might be.
Earlier this week, we published the saga of the large Lincoln Park driftwood stump taken to Alki Beach by a Seattle Parks crew. Tonight – more Lincoln Park driftwood on the move, but this time it’s via the “king tides.” The photos show one of the logs carved by artists on the LP beach last year. Karann MacNealy spotted it on the beach just north of Cormorant Cove, in the 3600 block off Beach Drive, today, and shared the photos.
After last month’s “king tides,” it turned up in front of an apartment building just north of there – Keith sent a photo on December 22nd, but we didn’t get around to publishing it. When the tide started rising again this week, we asked him if it was still there – he checked, and it was gone; then Karann reported spotting it today. (So did David, who posted photos on the WSB Facebook page.) But the next few days are bringing another round of “king tides” – 13 feet, before dawn – so no guarantee it’ll still be there tomorrow!
(Photos by Nick Adams for WSB)
As the first day of 2013 comes to an end, a closer look at some of the people who started it with a brisk tradition – West Seattle’s annual Polar Bear Swim on Alki. Though hundreds dashed into Puget Sound together, for each one, it was a very personal type of triumph. Above, Andrew Kurtz‘s fist-pump; next, Lisa Hayden‘s spirited wave as she emerged:
Charlie Duncan and Steve Douglas were pumped up even before they went in:
More of WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams‘ Polar Bear Swim scenes – before, during, and after – ahead:
If you haven’t made it out to see the mega-low late-night tides this week – you have a few more chances. Last night was the lowest low tide this time around, -3.6 feet at 10:41 pm, and we’ve received a few photos – above and below, from Lisa Stencel:
And this one from Kalani:
Tonight’s low tide is -3.4 at about 11:30 pm, and both mornings this weekend have the highest high tides of the cycle too – 13 feet at 6:50 am Saturday and 7:34 am Sunday. (Here’s the chart.) And if you’d like to explore the nighttime tidepools with an expert – Lance reminded us overnight that Seattle Parks has a naturalist-led event 10 pm-midnight across from Me Kwa Mooks:
Exploring the fascinating world of intertidal life by flashlight! Please wear very warm clothing and waterproof footwear (rain slickers too). Please bring a flashlight if you have one or borrow one from us. All ages welcome as long as you can walk on slippery seaweed and stay up late into the night. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Please pre-register https://class.seattle.gov/parks/Activities/ActivitiesAdvSearch.asp and then on the night of the 15th, meet at Me Kwa Mooks beach, across from Me-Kwa-Mooks Park (4503 Beach Dr. SW)
(12/3/12 photo from Richey Viewpoint, by Don Brubeck, shared via WSB Flickr group)
Heads up for beach-walking fans – the next week-plus will bring extremely high tides and very low tides. Given the season, the most dramatic extremes will be in the late-night and early-morning hours – though the afternoon high tides are notable too. As detailed on our favorite tide chart, each of the next four afternoons will bring a high tide of at least 12 feet (1:09 pm today); the nighttime low tide is -1.6 at 8:23 pm tonight and bottoms out at -3.6 feet at 10:41 pm Thursday. The morning high tides will surpass the afternoon levels starting on Thursday, reaching 13 feet at 6:50 am Saturday and 7:34 am Sunday. These are the “king tides,” and the state is again asking for help with photo documentation – explained on this page, along with a link for adding to their Flickr gallery (and please consider adding West Seattle photos to the WSB Flickr group too – thank you).
(Photo by Robin Lindsey)
One more wildlife photo this Thanksgiving night … a seal we got to see for ourselves the other day, driving on our way to something and pulling over upon noticing the unmistakable sign of a Seal Sitters stakeout, a cordoned-off area and a vigilant volunteer. They were out this week even in the worst of the rainy/windy weather on Monday. This time around, they’ve been kept busy by an adult seal nicknamed “Captain.” Seal Sitters’ Robin Lindsey writes about her on the “blubberblog.” (Robin also has a Thanksgiving message from Seal Sitters that you might want to read.)
(Added: August photo of the geese, courtesy of Myrtle)
10:22 AM: We’ve received two reports of this so far. First one was from Sig:
A man on a bike with his dog running loose at the south end of Lincoln Park at about 8:15 this morning allowed his dog to attack one of the beautiful white geese. The dog injured the goose on the land and took it out in the water all the way to the moored boats. No sign of the goose so hopefully he will show up. His partner is honking on the beach and very frightened. The man got on his bike as soon as he could get the dog to come back (still no leash in sight) and took off in a dark Subaru Outback with a bike rack on the back and top. Hopefully someone can watch for the injured goose and help him.
Second one came from a reader who didn’t want to be identified:
I just got back from a walk at Lincoln Park where some bozo’s dog – off leash – attacked the resident geese on the beach.
I arrived just after the event so my story comes second-hand from a Parks employee who witnessed this and told me what had happened.
Apparently the dog attacked the geese, leaving feathers all over the path, and then chased one of the birds through the water all the way to the ferry dock.
As I arrived the dog’s owner, who had walked south down the private part of the beach, about halfway to the ferry, coaxed the dog back to shore then high-tailed it out of the park on his mountain bike. (He was wearing a yellow and black biking shirt)
There were about 20 of us watching and looking for the goose. I continued my walk then returned to that area about 20 minutes later- but no goose..
I am sharing this because dogs are not allowed on public beaches (period) and there is no off-leash area in Lincoln Park yet I see dogs running free there almost every day. Each time I do I grumble to myself about it rather than confronting the owners. I know people love their dogs.
WIf you’re not familiar with the Lincoln Park/Fauntleroy area white geese – here’s a photo of one – they (or, perhaps, their relatives) have been on the beach there for years (we remember seeing them more than a decade ago). Their room to roam is curtailed right now, possibly forcing them further south, because of the Barton Pump Station Upgrade Project work that has taken over the pocket beach at Cove Park immediately north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock. We’ll be following up to see if we can find out what has happened since the search mentioned above; please let us know if you hear/see anything.
3:01 PM UPDATE: If you haven’t seen this in the comment thread yet: We checked with Parks, and they told us Animal Control was planning to visit the park to investigate – they had indeed received a call about this to dispatch earlier today. A commenter subsequently reported that both geese were found and seem to be OK, which was confirmed by a beach resident who has seen them.
ADDED: From Dewey Potter @ Parks: “One employee observed most of the incident, confronted the individual about his dog being off leash, and notified Seattle Animal Shelter. The Sr. Gardener who called me back said the description in the WS Blog of the dog owner is accurate. If anyone can provide a name, a license number, or other identifying information, SAS staff will talk with the dog owner and tell him what the penalties are for having a dog on the beach and for harassing wildlife.”
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