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 email@example.com.
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.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 – email@example.com – 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.
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