Terry Anderson’s KLOG
Jun 21 2007, 2:30-4:30 PM
Ala Spit, Whidbey Is., WA
Launched from the public City Beach, Oak Harbor, Whidbey Is, WA
Tidal, low tide (+1.5 ft) about 4:30 PM
The launch site is City Beach in Oak Harbor (when Rt 20 southbound turns west, continue straight through the light; there is plenty of parking near the beach and a concrete ramp, although at low tide one must traverse a sandy beach). Two hours before low tide the water was quite low and I had to walk across a wide beach, but it is quite sandy and easily negotiated.
I decided to follow the rounded shore to the west but found that the water was so shallow that I had to stay quite far out and there was still only about 18-24” of water. I decided to follow the shore west out of the harbor and down to Penn Cove and in to Penn Cove Park at the end of Munroe Landing Rd (Google Earth Placemark).
Before Klootchman Rock, I saw a number of eagles, two mature and at least half a dozen immature, in trees, on rocks at the edge of the water and in the air. Near Klootchman Rock I was a harbor seal sunning on a rock. I tried to stay as far away as possible, at least 100’ but it slid into the water. As I continued along the shore I saw two or three more and then six on one large rock. All dove as I passed. On the return paddle, some had returned to their rocks and some stayed as I paddle past.
On the return, I saw and eagle attack a heron in flight. I had seen this once the previous year from some distance, where the eagle pursued the heron for some time, but finally caught it in the air from above and not being able to hold up the weight descended slowly to the water where he completed the kill. But this time the attack was much closer, maybe 100’, however the heron maneuvered while making very loud screeching noises and got away. After a few attempts the eagle gave up the attack and flew to a rock and watch the heron fly away, continuing its screeching.
Total distance was about 3.5 nautical miles each way for an average paddle speed of about 3.5 knots. The weather was sunny but clouds hid the views of the Olympics (often visible over Penn Cove), however there were spectacular views of the Cascade range on the return paddle, except for Mt Baker and Mt Rainier which were covered by clouds.
* If you have Google Earth installed, you can double-click on the attached Placemark file and it will fly you to the location. If not, you will need to install Google Earth first (available at http://earth.google.com).