Melibe leonina//Hooded nudibranch Seattle, 8/2018
Fair is the castle up on the hill--
Hushaby, sweet my own!
The night is fair, and the waves are still,
And the wind is singing to you and to me
In this lowly home beside the sea--
Hushaby, sweet my own!
-from Lullaby;By the Sea, Eugene Field
My trusty Olympus OMD EM5 MII bit the dust this week. Handing it over to the repair shop felt like giving up a limb. I shoot almost every day and I am feeling the absence of my camera. Serendipitously, I arranged weeks ago to rent a Sony A7iii for a trip out to the Olympic Peninsula this coming week. I am looking forward to trying out a full frame camera and seeing what it can do. In the meantime, some images from this past month...
I have been visiting San Juan Island for over 20 years. The past 14, my husband and I have stayed at the same place on the West side of the island. It feels like our home away from home. I have had the opportunity to observe the intertidal dwellers and the resident Orcas from our cove from year to year. When we visit, I rarely leave our little spot. This past weekend, I did venture out in search of foxes at American Camp. Although I didn't see any, I was astounded by the beauty of this part of the Island with its open fields and sweeping vistas of the Salish Sea.
Sunny is part of our San Juan clan. She comes to our house and lounges with us on the lawn as we stare at the Salish Sea. Early the morning, she is often my only tide pool companion. I will head down to our cove with my coffee and my camera and Sunny is not far behind. She always amazes me with her gentle explorations of the beach, staring into the tide pools with wonder, watching the hustle and bustle, just like me.
Black Katy Chitons are everywhere in our little cove. They are like the punk rock stars of the tide pool with their black leather "jackets".
Limpet's are a common sight in our tidepool neighborhood too.
My favorite discovery on this trip was a handful of beautiful Hooded Nudibranchs appearing in our cove on my birthday. It was like a gift from the Salish Sea:)
As we were getting ready to leave, resident Orcas of J & L pods returned to the West side of the island. Watching these magnificent animals, swim, jump and play together right in our front yard was such a treat.
I may be dating myself a teensy bit with that title:) Whatever...
Anyway, if you were on the beach a month ago and returned this past week you might notice a huge difference in your ability to navigate our rocky shores. With more sunshine and more warmth, the seaweeds are thriving and blooming all over the beach now. It makes things a lot more slippery for sure.
We are always on the lookout for interesting animals, but please don't forget the glorious seaweeds. We have hundreds of species here with an incredible array of forms and textures. Ever hear of Nori? You know, the seaweed your crispy snacks are made out? Maybe you you know it from the sushi rolls you like to eat? Nori is one of our local species found on the beach. That bumpy, red stuff that looks like octopus skin? That is Turksh Towel seaweed. It contains carrageenan, an ingredient you might be familiar with if you use toothpaste or eat ice cream.
Pictured above are Succulent Seaweed, also known as Sea Noodles and Rockweed. Both are edible. Succulent seaweed is one of my favorites- it is mild, crunchy, salty and delicious. In order to harvest seaweed on our local beaches, you need to purchase a permit from the Washington Fish and Wildlife department. From everyone I have spoken with, it seems that seaweed harvesting around our inner city beaches might not be the best idea due to pollutants in our waters. It is unclear how much of those pollutants the seaweeds hold on to.
So, around Seattle, I prefer to observe, admire and photograph.