West Seattle, Washington
With the full moon, another round of low-low tides is coming up in the week ahead, including this summer’s lowest low tide (minus 4 feet) on Friday. Here’s what’s happening, plus how to get expert advice for your viewing (most important advice is simple – please tread lightly and be mindful of the near-shore creatures not usually exposed):
Tuesday (June 22nd) 9:37 am -2.1
Wednesday (June 23rd) 10:22 am -3.2
Thursday (June 24th) 11:07 am -3.9
Friday (June 25th) 11:54 am -4.0
Saturday (June 26th) 12:41 pm -3.7
Sunday (June 27th) 1:28 pm -3.0
Monday (June 28th) 2:16 pm -2.0
Seattle Aquarium volunteer beach naturalists will be at Lincoln and Constellation (aka Charles Richey Sr. Viewpoint) Parks Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, usually starting about an hour and a half after the lowest-tide moment. Here’s the schedule.
Tide walk – Thursday at 10:30 am, meet up with Seattle Parks’ Rec’N The Streets program for a free all-ages beach walk at Constellation Park (3521 Beach Dr SW). Organizers advise: “Bring some water comfortable shoes, water bottle, and cameras. Be ready to get wet and see some cool plants and animals.”
The photo is courtesy of Charlotte, an Alki resident who wanted to publicly thank the Westside School (WSB sponsor) students who waved signs during that demonstration at the beach today. “It was refreshing to see the promotion of civility articulated from this diverse representation of the next generation,” she said. “I like to think they get it. They gave many local residents a lift this afternoon. I spoke with the group and the students came up with the idea at Westside School because they felt the message just needed to get out. We’d like to thank them.”
A little low-low tide exploring can give you new appreciation for what you don’t see when walking Puget Sound beaches the rest of the time. We have photos from Friday that we didn’t get to show you last night because of breaking news – first two, from Michelle Green Arnson, show a Moon Snail above, an Ochre Sea Star and Christmas Anemone below:
She was out at Constellation Park and has rave reviews for the volunteer Seattle Aquarium beach naturalist, too. Elsewhere on the West Seattle shore, Stewart L. photographed this Great Blue Heron (yes, with a long lens, at a distance):
And we were out along Duwamish Head, just east of Luna (Anchor) Park, looking out at the former site of its namesake amusement park:
Not everyone was looking for wildlife:
Tomorrow’s low tide is still fairly low but not nearly as much as the past three – it’ll be out to -2.5 feet at 2:37 pm Sunday; the naturalists will be out at Constellation and Lincoln Parks again (12:45-3:45 pm). Then set a reminder for 11:54 am June 25th, when the lowest low tide of the summer arrives, -4.0 feet.
ADDED: One more photo – this one from Gill, taken at Constellation Park, looking toward Alki Point:
The photo and report are from Peter:
In case anyone is missing a float from yesterday’s weather, one has washed up at the very north end of the new seawall at the foot of SW Jacobsen, where the wall meets the rockery.
(For smaller lost-and-found items, we have this section of the WSB Community Forums.)
This afternoon’s low-low tide was the second-lowest of the summer – out -3.9 feet, and it’ll be matched tomorrow. Christopher Boffoli sent the first three photos from Constellation Park (Charles Richey Sr. Viewpoint). That includes marine life revealed by the receding waters.
These are of course the reasons to tread lightly – many creatures on and between the rocks.
Constellation Park is also one of the two places in West Seattle where you’ll find volunteer Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists. But you can appreciate the low-low tide anywhere along the shore – even the heart of Alki Beach:
That photo’s from Theresa Arbow-O’Connor. Tomorrow’s low-low tide, -3.9 feet again, is at 12:58 pm, and the naturalists will be out at Constellation and Lincoln Parks 11 am-3 pm.
Thanks to Marc Milrod for the photos from Alki Beach. As we’ve been mentioning in previews, this week’s full moon has brought some of summer’s lowest low tides. Just before 11:30 this morning, it was out to -3.3 feet, and the next three days, the morning low tide will be even lower.
On Thursday and Friday – at 12:11 pm and 12:58 pm – the tide will be out to -3.9 feet, and on Saturday at 1:46 pm, it’ll be out to -3.4 feet.
Tread lightly because sea/shore creatures that aren’t usually exposed might be in your path.
Tread extra-lightly on local beaches starting Tuesday – sea creatures like that might be exposed as this week’s full moon brings the next wave of what we refer to as “low-low tides.” Here’s when, and how far, the tides will be out:
Tuesday 10:44 am, -2.3 feet
Wednesday 11:27 am, -3.3 feet
Thursday 12:11 pm, -3.9 feet
Friday 12:58 pm, -3.9 feet
Saturday 1:46 pm, -3.4 feet
Sunday 2:37 pm, -2.5 feet
Thursday and Friday, that low-low tide is close to the lowest this summer – only one day (June 25th, -4.0) will see a lower low tide.
Bonus – the Seattle Aquarium Volunteer Beach Naturalist Program is back this year, and naturalists will be at two West Seattle spots Wednesday-Sunday to answer questions: Lincoln Park and Constellation Park (labeled “South Alki” on the program list) – see the times and locations by going here and choosing the dropdown to reveal them.
With summer approaching, the Alki Community Council focused on beach concerns at its monthly meeting online tonight. Here’s what happened:
POLICE UPDATE: Representing the precinct was acting Lt. David Terry, a 20-year SPD veteran who currently leads the night shift. He started off by saying that “a lot of officers are dedicated to Alki” because it’s a priority for the precinct, which has “added extra resources” to work in the beach area. He mentioned the SPD crime-data dashboard, which you can use to track incidents in specific neighborhoods, Alki included. In the last four weeks, 3 misdemeanor assaults, 12 property crimes. West Seattle in general has seen 2 shots-fired incidents with no injuries and 1 injury shooting (16th/Roxbury) recently. One person complained that she was on hold for 20 minutes one recent night and never saw police despite street racing and other problems. Lt. Terry explained that some major incidents have taken away personnel – such as a South Seattle shooting response that required officers to be pulled from the Southwest Precinct. He said SW commander Capt. Kevin Grossman has since tried to work out a way that the local precinct won’t be totally depleted by any such future calls. Some West Seattle calls have taken every available resource too, like the aforementioned shooting. On weekends, they have extra OT crews until midnight on Alki. If something is happening now, call 911, not the non-emergency line, he stressed. The attendee said she had been told by an officer later that they weren’t supposed to interfere with street racing, and Lt. Terry said that’s not true – there is no such directive – so he’s talking to his officers to stress that they are not under orders to “stand down.” Racing calls are now “priority 1.” he said, which means mandatory dispatch – even if that means pulling someone from elsewhere in the city.
The fire rings are back; the summer crowds are on the way. Want to talk about the beach? It’s the third Thursday, so the Alki Community Council is meeting online tonight, and you’re welcome to participate. Agenda highlights as sent by the ACC:
Update on Southwest Precinct, Sgt. David Terry, SW Precinct, SPD
Report on Alki Beach concerns
The meeting starts at 7 pm; you can attend via videoconference by going here, or by phone at 206-337-9723. (For both, the meeting ID is 995 1615 6974, passcode 638862.)
11:20 AM: Seattle Parks announced last month that it would return the fire rings to Alki Beach by Memorial Day – and today, with the holiday weekend still two weeks away, they’re back. Thanks to Guy for the tip; we just went over for photographic proof. In the early pandemic weeks, Parks locked the fire rings to discourage “crowding and congregating,” and then removed them last July. Neither of those steps kept people from having beach fires; many nights in the ensuing months, we heard Seattle Fire crews dispatched to “illegal burn” reports. (During one recent callout, the arriving crew radioed to dispatch that no lives or property were in danger, so they were canceling the dispatch.) Here’s a recap of beach-fire rules; we’re checking with Parks to see when they’ll be officially open (unlocked).
2:34 PM: Not until Memorial Day weekend, says Parks spokesperson Rachel Schulkin.
Thanks to Steve for sending the photo and tip! The path atop the new seawall on the south end of Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook [map] is now open – just in time for a view of this week’s low-low tides. The path was completed this month after a few months of delay attributed to ADA compliance. The new 400-foot-long, $3 million seawall was built adjacent to the failing old one after years of planning.
Thanks to Brandy DeWeese for sending the photo of a sea-star sighting this morning on the shore at Lincoln Park. It wasn’t even a minus tide – those start tomorrow, and before the week’s out, we’ll see low-low tides. From our favorite tide chart:
Tuesday (4/27): -1.6 feet, 11:52 am
Wednesday (4/28): -2.5 feet, 12:34 pm
Thursday (4/29): -3.0 feet, 1:19 pm
Friday (4/30): -2.9 feet, 2:07 pm
Saturday (5/1): -2.3 feet, 2:59 pm
If you walk on the beach at those times, please be very careful of the exposed animal and plant life. Wondering what you might see? Here’s a field guide from the Seattle Aquarium (whose volunteer beach naturalists will be out during low-low tides later this spring and summer).
The fire rings at Alki will be back by Memorial Day weekend, Seattle Parks announced via Twitter today. The rings’ absence hasn’t stopped people from having beach fires; SFD is dispatched often to “illegal burn” reports there. The rings were removed last July, months after Parks locked them, resulting in people building fires on or by them instead.
Washington Beach Volleyball gets to compete in the sands of Seattle for the first time in over two years this weekend, making up for lost time with a total of seven matches over three days at Alki Beach this Friday through Sunday, April 16-18. The first two days will make up one tournament, the Husky Invitational, featuring UW, 15th-ranked Hawaii, Oregon, and Portland. Then Sunday will be three more dual matches separate from the tourney, with UW, Hawaii and 9th-ranked Arizona all playing each other once.
It’s the first home matches for UW since March of 2019. It’s also the last week of the regular season as the Pac-12 Championships are next up for the Dawgs starting on April 29.
Though past visits have drawn crowds, this time they’re asking you to stay away:
Fans are respectfully requested not to attend the weekend’s matches at Alki Beach. Due to Covid-19 protocols and the openness of the area, crowds cannot be controlled nor can seats be assigned.
Going into the weekend, the Huskies are 1-7. Their appearances at Alki date back to 2016.
Also from the “you asked, so we checked” file — we have a status report on the Lincoln Park restroom renovations toward the south end of the beach. Janet emailed this week, wondering how much longer before the comfort station reopened. The work started more than six months ago. We asked Seattle Parks project manager Kelly Goold for an update – here’s his reply:
We are using an epoxy floor for Lincoln Park Comfort Station – similar to what is used in commercial kitchens and many other Parks Comfort Station buildings. The flooring requires that the existing concrete slab meet moisture level requirements before we can install. That is proving to be a challenge given the existing building is built into a hill near water. The contractor thinks with recent good weather we will be able to meet moisture level requirements by next week. Approximately 3 weeks left to install flooring, partitions, and accessories and have final inspection with our maintenance staff. Roughly that would be the week of April 19th when the building could potentially reopen.
JEM Contractors is handling this project and the 57th SW restroom rebuild on Alki Beach.
SIDE NOTE: When we last mentioned this project in September, we also noted the long-awaited South Play Area project was supposed to get going this winter. Checking that project website – now construction isn’t expected before fall.
If you walk, run, or ride along the Lincoln Park beach, you might have seen this cleanup operation – removing a damaged floating dock and the Styrofoam beads with which it was contaminating the water and shore. A post by Seattle Parks today explains how volunteers and city crews teamed up to get rid of it after an initial report came in from a park visitor. Friends of Lincoln Park, Puget Soundkeeper, Green Seattle Partnership all had a hand in it. The cleanup started last Thursday with Parks’ Heavy Equipment crew removing the dock, and continued Friday with work to remove the bits of Styrofoam. That involved a variety of tactics – from vacuuming up dry bits of foam to filling buckets with scooped-up beach stones, sand, and shells, adding water so the foam pieces would float up for removal. (See more photos here.) If you ever see a problem like this, you can report it via the Find It Fix It app or the Parks maintenance line, 206-684-7250.
Thanks to Keri for the photo, taken Wednesday evening: “Out rollerblading with my 13-year-old and was so lucky to see this at the viewpoint on Alki Ave. Had I not been on rollerblades, I would have climbed down to try to include the living city with the sand drawing. Love the fleeting works of art in our community. Bravo to the artist.” (If you’re reading on desktop/laptop, click the pic for a larger view.)
Peter sent the photo (thank you!), reporting that the “aluminum fencing is finally coming down today” at the Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook seawall-replacement project site, near Beach Drive/Jaoobsen Road. We reported four weeks ago that contractor Redside Construction was almost done with the 465-foot seawall and pedestrian/landscaping features atop it. The work has taken about half a year, as had been estimated.
We’ve already mentioned two West Seattle events of note for tomorrow’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day – here’s another, thanks to a tip from Marlo: Join other community volunteers in a cleanup at Alki Beach, starting at 10:30 am Monday. Details are here. (Anything else? firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!)
If you’re up early – Wednesday through Friday, the pre-dawn high tides will be the last “king tides” of this winter – 12.8 feet at 6:03 am Wednesday and 6:40 am Thursday, 12.7 feet at 7:15 am Friday. (Here’s the chart.) Too soon to tell if the weather will be stormy enough to push the tides past predicted levels, as happened last Monday.
10:17 AM: Thanks to @i8ipod for tweeting that photo from Alki about an hour ago, as high tide topped the seawall on the promenade. We noted back on Friday that today would bring one of the month’s highest tides, 12.6 feet, but as a texter points out with the screengrab below, atmospheric conditions pushed the actual peak even higher, close to 14 feet:
The highest predicted tides of the month are pre-dawn January 13 and 14, in the 6 am hour, at 12.8 feet.
10:35 AM: Just received Don Armeni Boat Ramp photos from Stewart L.
Note how high the floating dock rose, almost swamping the signage:
We went to Alki around 10 am to check on two polar bear-themed events:
That’s Polar Bear Swim organizer Mark Ufkes, relaxing between countdown requests. As announced earlier this week, no all-at-once plunge this year but he encouraged people to come down in small groups. He said the early going – starting around 9 am – totaled around 100 people, some requesting a countdown, some not. Nobody while we were there but via Twitter, Bill Schrier caught a few:
— Bill Schrier (@billschrier) January 1, 2021
Further west, by Alki Bathhouse, the (unrelated) West Seattle Polar Bear Challenge drop-off food drive was going well:
Earlier this year, we introduced you to Jessica, who was organizing a monthly volunteer cleanup at Alki. She’s renewing her call for volunteers as 2021 starts, with the first cleanup set for this Saturday (January 2nd):
ALKI BEACH AND NEIGHBORHOOD CLEANUP
1st Saturday of every month, 10 AM to 2 PM
Pick sticks and buckets provided – RSVP to reserve one. Feel free to bring your own. Supervised kids welcome. Behaved dogs welcome off beach. We spread out to cover most surface. Stay as long as you desire; go as far as you would like. The goal is to collect the garbage before it enters the beach and ocean. We can gather after for a distancing coffee if time allows. We meet at 10 am outside, between Blue Moon Burgers and 56th on Alki Ave SW
If you can’t make it Saturdays, consider starting your own group that meets another day. Looking forward to meeting you.
To RSVP or ask a question, text Jessica at 206.769.6330.