West Seattle, Washington
(WSB photo: Ferry between Fauntleroy and Vashon during Christmas Day sunset)
The Washington State Ferries winter schedule starts tomorrow (Sunday, December 28th). Here’s the WSF roundup of major changes systemwide. For the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route, the biggest change is the usual seasonal shrinking of the number of weekend runs, plus a change to the emergency two-boat schedule – here’s a printable PDF. Separate from the schedule change, WSF also is warning that at some point in the not-too-distant future, you’ll see longer wait times, temporarily:
As early as Sunday, Dec. 28 through early February, customers traveling on the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route are advised to prepare for longer than usual wait times due to a vessel downsizing. The temporary downsizing is needed to maintain a full, system-wide sailing schedule while the Yakima and Kitsap are out of service for necessary repairs and maintenance.
Whenever that happens, you can use this page to check Fauntleroy wait times. P.S. The F/V/S route is on a regular schedule on New Year’s Day.
Today’s impromptu wildlife theme continues, this time away from the shore – We’ve received three reports of coyote sightings in Sunrise Heights around mid-afternoon. Jeremy shared the photos (taken from a distance – we cropped them), after seeing two “wandering down 27th near Othello” in the 2 pm hour.
Not long after that, Ellery saw two coyotes that “just strolled by in front of my house on 32nd Ave at Holden St.” That’s also where Sarah reported seeing them. (Here’s a map showing both aforementioned locations.)
If you haven’t seen coyote mentions here before … we’ve been publishing reader reports of sightings for more than seven years; here’s the archive. The more awareness, and the more that we all follow advice such as not leaving food out, the more likelihood of continuing to minimize closeup conflict. (The state Fish and Wildlife “Living with Wildlife” page that we usually recommend seems to be inaccessible right now, so here’s another page full of info/advice.)
One more story in keeping with what seems to be today’s theme (water/beaches/wildlife):
At midday on Christmas, Marianne sent word that Seal Sitters were out on the beach at Lincoln Park, guarding a pup. Before we could get out of the house, she sent the photo you see above, with a followup – the seal had returned to the water shortly after SS responder Dana arrived. That wasn’t the end of the story, though. We finally went to Lincoln Park for a walk (which resulted in these pictures) shortly before sunset. As we entered from the Lowman side, we passed the Seal Sitters group (including David and Eilene Hutchinson, recognizable from so many other volunteer endeavors) departing – seems the pup had made a comeback for a while. And now, you can read the full story of seal pup Silverbell and the humans who helped it, via the newest update on the Seal Sitters “Blubberblog.”
(WSB video of the 2014 Polar Bear Swim on Alki)
More people than ever have asked in the past week-plus, “Is the Alki Polar Bear Swim on for New Year’s Day?” Longtime organizer Mark Ufkes has just confirmed, yes, indeed, it is. Can it break last year’s record (~500 swimmers)? Why not! Here’s Mark’s announcement:
West Seattle Polar Bear Swim is on!
2015, The year of the Sheep – a symbol pf peace, harmony, co-existence, and tranquility. A nurturing year, which the world can always use more of.
The annual West Seattle Polar Bear swim starts at 10 am sharp on January 1 each year. Arrive a few minutes early.
We line up all along the beach, have a count down, and at 10 am sharp, we hold hands and run into the water together. Each year, the swim gets bigger. Over 500 swimmers fanned out in a long line along the beach and joined us last year. It is a great way to wash away the complexities of the previous year, and celebrate the unlimited potential that awaits each of us in the new year. Year after year, Polar Bear swimmers declare that this ritual creates a sense of renewal, and helps make the new year be stronger and more positive.
Traditionally, Duke’s restaurant generously provides free clam chowder and local families bring hot chocolate for the crowd. Afterwards, Alki beach is full of hundreds of smiling swimmers and their families and friends. Come join the fun. Do the West Seattle Polar Bear swim. You will have a great time!
This starts from the sandy section of Alki, right across from Duke’s (58th/Alki). Adding to the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, which includes other New Year’s Eve/Day options, from walking to parading to dining to more swimming…
— Andrew Malinak (@AndrewSwims) December 27, 2014
(Added: The every-Saturday-morning Alki swim included an orca sighting!)
9:33 AM: When last we heard of whales in the area, it was late Friday, and some were reported to be heading northbound in this direction, off the east side of Vashon. Don’t know if they are the same ones, but we have multiple reports of orcas off the 1500 block of Alki right now, for starters, plus an Orca Network Facebook report of orcas off Alki Point a short time ago, possibly visible off West Seattle. We’re off to look; let us know of any sightings!
10:02 AM: Very choppy water on the west-facing shore; followed up a text about orcas at Emma Schmitz Overlook but no luck.
10:47 AM: Just saw two southbound from Brace Point!
Last weekend of the year, and a quiet one, as is customary. But you do have some options if you want to get out for a while:
FINAL DAY OF DECEMBER KING TIDES: Nothing extreme is expected but as shown in our Friday photos, the “king tide” is still a sight to see, and today the final 13-foot high tide of December is at 9:06 am. Sightseeing spots include Seacrest, where the floating Water Taxi dock will be almost at the level of the non-floating fishing pier, and Alki, where the water will be close to the top of the seawall.
BEEN TO THE MUSEUM LATELY? On this quiet between-holidays, low-on-events Saturday, the Log House Museum is open noon-4 pm and awaiting your visit to explore West Seattle-and-vicinity history. (61st/Stevens)
‘BREAKIN’ UP CHRISTMAS’ CONCERT AND SQUARE DANCE: 7:30 pm at Kenyon Hall, enjoy an Appalachian tradition – music, dancing, revelry during the time between Christmas and New Year’s. Two visiting old-style musicians are performing before the dance, then helping accompany the dance, with local support, as explained in our calendar listing. (7904 35th SW)
DARCI CARLSON AT THE FEEDBACK: 9:30 pm, it’s “probably the most-requested artist here,” as the Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) describes Darci Carlson. See/hear for yourself. (6451 California SW)
LIGHT SHOWS CONTINUE: Catching up on, or revisiting, local Christmas lights? See the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide for the highlights. (P.S. The guide is also where we’re looking ahead to New Year’s Eve/Day happenings.)
Our first West Seattle Crime Watch roundup since pre-Christmas starts with two reader reports:
BURGLARY INTERRUPTED: From Jeff:
Attempted residential break-in. 7500 block of 46th Ave SW, approximately 7:45 (Friday) night. Neighbors came home as it was occurring. Burglar fled. Police notified.
We’ve asked a followup question about any description that might be available.
STOLEN BIKE: So often, stolen bicycles turn up abandoned somewhere – the thief used it to get to the scene of the next crime, and then cast it aside. Sharon is looking for hers: “My bike was stolen from (the 1700 block of) Alki Ave SW. It is a black Marin crossover with a sticker on the the front, which may have already been taken off. … I will provide a reward if found.”
We also have three reports from the online police files; it usually takes several days for narratives to become available, if they ever do, but we keep watch to see what’s new, and found these, including gifts stolen from a church and rapidly returned: