An e-mail question about people out on a West Seattle beach right now with lights reminds us that the next three mornings of “king tides” are worth another reminder – here’s what we published Tuesday – as well as the late-night low tides. Coming up at 11:44 pm, the tide will bottom out at -3.2 feet, very low as low tides go; then at 7 am, it’ll be up to 12.8 feet, very high as high tides go. The highest “king tide” this time around will be 12.9 feet at 7:48 am Friday, but in January, it’ll peak even higher, 13.3 feet both mornings on the first weekend of 2014, January 4-5. (Find tide status/chart on the WSB Weather page any time.)
For the next five days, the morning high tides will approach 13 feet – the so-called “king tides” – and the state Ecology Department is again asking you to share your photos. Above is one of ours from WSB coverage last December 17th, when a king tide coincided with high winds. This Friday (December 6th), at 7:48 am, high tide will peak at 12.9 feet, same as it was on that memorable day a year ago. Here’s the request from Ecology:
*Take photos during a king tide, preferably where the high water levels can be gauged against familiar landmarks such as sea walls, jetties, bridge supports or buildings.
*Note the date, time and location of your photo, then upload your images on the Washington King Tide Photo Initiative Flickr Group.
*Please tag your photos on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #kingtides.
*Play it safe! While the winter king tides occur during daylight hours, don’t venture out during severe weather and keep a close eye on rising water levels.
We would also love to see your photos – here are all the ways to reach us. Thanks in advance!
P.S. Any time you’re looking for a tide chart – check the one that’s displayed on the WSB West Seattle Weather page.
Just before sunset, one final solemn ceremony on this Veterans Day: Scout Troop 375, based in Burien, came to Alki for a formal flag-retirement ceremony. More than two dozen people joined them.
With flames and Taps, as per tradition, the flag was taken out of service.
The troop and Scoutmaster Mark Ufkes had invited community members to bring flags for a future retirement event; some did. (No date set yet.)
That video was just shared by West Seattle environmental advocate/photographer “Diver Laura” James, who reports counting more than 100 dead sea stars in the Brace Point area near Fauntleroy this weekend. We also received a called-in report late yesterday of dead sea stars (starfish) seen near Colman Pool on the Lincoln Park shoreline, but had not been able to get there at low tide to verify. There have been numerous reports of starfish die-offs in recent weeks, from this KING 5 story to a national report via NBC News. But there’s no way to know, so far, if this is connected, nor have scientists definitively linked other die-offs to any sort of common condition.
P.S. Laura will be at The Whale Trail‘s orca talk at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) this Tuesday night, on behalf of Tox-Ick.org; if you haven’t already bought a ticket, though, please note that TWT’s Donna Sandstrom has announced the event is sold out, so no tickets at the door.
1:16 PM: Starting with a note from Jennifer in the 5 am hour, we’ve received several tips and questions about that beached boat at Alki (near 57th SW), and finally have some information to share. Here’s what Joelle Hammerstad at Seattle Parks found out for us: “Apparently, the owner was coming around the point, got into some mechanical trouble, and came ashore right there. There has been an insurance adjuster out looking at it. They are waiting for high tide to get it out of there.” (High tide hits about 11 feet at 7:16 tonight and 9:08 tomorrow morning.)
8:38 PM: Still there at sunset:
Thanks to Guy Olson for the photo!
(Weekend photo of ‘Polo’ by David Hutchinson)
Just one week after Seal Sitters‘ jubilant “Harbor Seal Day” event at Alki Beach, another situation underscoring the importance of their work: They’ve had to get help for another pup – the third one this year. This update is just in from Robin Lindsey:
We thought your readers would want to know that seal pup Polo (who hauled out numerous times near 53rd and Alki from Thursday through Saturday) was rescued from the beach early Sunday morning.
The pup was in serious distress and taken to PAWS. Polo did survive the night and we will be providing health updates on blubberblog as we receive them.
We want to thank the many people who oohed and ahhed over this beautiful little pup while he stretched and yawned and snoozed. While Polo was very much underweight, he didn’t display any obvious health issues and was coming and going from the beach with vigor. It was a surprise to us all. This just underscores the fact that all of the newly weaned pups are in a daily struggle to survive and their health can take a drastic turn for the worse in no time at all – and so many of them have underlying health concerns. Even more reason to make sure that they are able to rest undisturbed on our shores to gain strength!
And if you spot one (or any other beached marine mammal) – call 206-905-SEAL, so Seal Sitters can come out and keep watch.
(Photo by Robin Lindsey)
Two updates from Seal Sitters today. Robin Lindsey says that in addition to two newborn pups in recent weeks, two newly weaned pups have shown up on West Seattle beaches in the past few days. Above is the pup nicknamed “Perky” (also shown in a reader-contributed photo on the WSB Facebook page); Robin says, “Another pup spent yesterday afternoon and night at Emma Schmitz viewpoint. The thin pup just returned to the Sound about an hour ago. We’d like everyone to be on the alert and make sure you call our hotline @ 206-905-7325 (SEAL) if you come across a pup on the beach. … As always, we need to ask people to respect the tape perimeters. It is crucial that pups are able to rest undisturbed in order to survive this challenging time!” Read more on Seal Sitters’ “Blubberblog” website.
KIDS’ CONTEST – ONE MORE CALL FOR ENTRIES! Young artists/writers in kindergarten through 5th grade have until this Sunday (August 25th) to enter the Seal Sitters’ contest for creations to be displayed during the Harbor Seal Day event at Alki Bathhouse on September 8th – great project for these waning days of summer! Read all about it, including how to enter, by going here.
Several groups have taken West Seattle beaches under their wing lately and organized cleanups – but none quite like this one. In late July, an Eastside company called Tirebuyer.com announced volunteers from its staff planned to come clean up West Seattle beach spots marred by washed-up tires, apparently on the suggestion of a company employee who lives here. It sounded almost too publicity-perfect to be true – but they’re now sharing pictorial proof, including the photo above (note the edge of the overlook at Luna/Anchor Park) that we’re republishing with permission. Their tire-removal tale is here, and they’re planning to try it again soon; if you know of a beached tire that needs removal for recycling, e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to the dozens of volunteers who joined the Surfrider Foundation at today’s Alki Beach cleanup. “Diver Laura” James, who joined in an underwater cleanup while other volunteers were on the sand and atop stand-up paddleboards, shares the top photo. Surfrider shared the next photo, by Heather Brincko, showing singer Vicci Martinez doing her part – before entertaining cleanup participants with a post-cleanup concert at Cactus:
The cleanup, also sponsored by Barefoot Wine, removed 50 bags of trash “and a watercooler full of cigarettes” from the beach, according to a report sent by organizers.
(Photos by David Hutchinson)
Quite a sight Tuesday morning east of Alki Bathhouse – a test run of sorts for the still-in-progress sculpture that Seal Sitters is bringing to the boardwalk’s east end:
Seal Sitters is happy to announce that Turnstone Construction has completed the site preparation work of our Year of the Seal: Sentinels of the Sound sculpture project. The day began with the placement of a number of large rocks at the site. These rocks are modeled on the Blakeley Formation, which can be seen at low tide at Constellation Park south of Alki Point and on Bainbridge Island.
Georgia Gerber (at left-center in photo above with Seal Sitters’ Robin Lindsey) arrived with her almost-completed sculpture of a harbor seal mother and pup to assist with the final adjustment of these rocks. The sculpture was then returned to her studio on Whidbey Island for the finishing touches. It will be installed at the site in mid-late August. Turnstone employees then completed work on the simulated beach scene by early (Tuesday) afternoon. They will be back (today) for final cleanup and removal of the construction fence.
Seal Sitters wants to thank Turnstone Construction for an excellent job
Speaking of art, Seal Sitters has launched an art and essay contest for K-5-age kids – read about it on the group’s Blubberblog site.
You’ve seen movies film at Alki Beach. But this might be the first time a movie has sought publicity via a cleanup at Alki Beach. Just got word that you’re invited to a beach cleanup this Thursday morning (July 11th), 8-10 am (meet at Alki Bathhouse), one of eight cleanups (along with 5 in California plus Honolulu and Vancouver) tied into the release of “Pacific Rim.” If you’re one of the first 100 people to show up to volunteer, they’re promising prizes including two tickets to see the movie. More details on the official flyer.
Thanks to Tom Erler from Restoration Logistics LLC for sharing the photo of their work today with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance at Lincoln Park. As previewed here Sunday, it’s a creosote cleanup – he says they’re “removing at least 2 tons worth of creosote & pressure treated debris from Lincoln Park beach. Work started at 7:30 and (is) continuing until mid-afternoon.” (There was a similar cleanup at Lincoln Park last year, too.)
Historical side note pointed out by a reader regarding the creosote industry in the area in general: The enterprises of the Colman family, whose many local contributions included Lincoln Park’s popular outdoor Colman Pool, included a creosote company that was founded downtown and, as noted in this HistoryLink article, later moved to West Seattle. Under later ownership, it eventually became a Superfund cleanup site and is now home to Jack Block Park and adjacent Port of Seattle container facilities.
ADDED TUESDAY MORNING: One more photo from Tom Erler:
He says that by the time they were done, the removal totaled closer to 4 tons!
If you missed the lowest low tide of the summer today – you have one more chance: Tomorrow’s low tide also will be -3.7, at 12:06 pm, just as far out as it was late this morning, when Diane, who kindly shared these photos, was checking out tidepools with myriad other curious people:
Among the stars of the show … the stars!
The Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists will be out again during low-low tide the next three days – here’s the schedule.
On behalf of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, West Seattle’s “Diver Laura” James sends word of a major creosote cleanup planned all day tomorrow (Monday, June 24) on the beach at Lincoln Park, 8 am-5 pm. Soundkeeper is a partner in the cleanup “with the Department of Natural Resources, Seattle Parks & Recreation, and Restoration Logistics, with funding from the Department of Fish & Wildlife,” according to the official announcement, which continues:
Creosote (is) a toxic potion of chemicals created by the distillation of tar. It is commonly used to preserve and waterproof the wood used for dock pilings, telephone poles, and fence posts. Unfortunately, many of these creosote pilings wash up on beaches where they mix with regular drift wood. While in the water, creosote leaches into the marine environment and mixes with sediments where it can enter the food chain. On the beach, creosote can seep out and affect both wildlife and human health.
Creosote is a phototoxin, meaning it becomes more toxic when exposed to sunlight and higher ambient temperatures. It is also present in high amounts, at approximately 7 pounds per cubic foot of wood. Creosote contains toxic PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. PAHs are known carcinogens and are associated with other human health risks as well. (The removal project is intended) to get creosote-treated lumber out of the environment, away from beachgoers, and dispose of it properly in a landfill.
If you encounter creosote treated lumber on a beach near you, we want to hear about it! Call our pollution hotline 1-800-42-PUGET or fill a pollution report out online. Your efforts will help us direct future cleanup projects. However, it is important to be careful- avoid contact with treated logs whenever possible and always wash skin exposed to creosote with soap and water.
Parkgoers, be forewarned – tomorrow’s removal work will include “a work crew with heavy machinery and hard hats removing all the big creosote logs,” Laura adds.
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.
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