Live. Love. Harm no one. Help when you can. Be happy.
By: BriarCraft , 9:37 PM GMT on August 23, 2014
Willapa Bay is fairly shallow, half of the volume of water inside it enters and leaves with every tide and creates a dynamic ecosystem that includes mud tidal flats and salt marshes. These, in turn support vast beds of eel grass and shellfish. And during the spring migration over 100,000 shorebirds stop here to eat and rest before continuing their journey north. Additionally, there is a large year-round bird population.
A hundred years ago, the community of North Cove was on Cape Shoalwater. Since 1911, the shore has eroded 100-150 feet per year. During the 1920s, over 30 homes were claimed by erosion or relocated. In the years that followed, erosion destroyed a lighthouse, a life-saving station, a clam cannery, a school, and a Grange Hall. Erosion also forced the relocation of a cemetery and State Highway 105. In recent decades, erosion has destroyed 20 homes, private property, and part of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. In 1976-77, the pioneer cemetery and Washington highway 105 were threatened with erosion and moved to their present location. In 1995, WA-105 was again threatened by erosion and the Washington State Department of Transportation constructed a $27 million submerged groin and beach fill to protect area cranberry bogs as well as the highway.
During my exploration of Washaway Beach and Cape Shoalwater on August 21, I found two homes on the short stretch of what is left of old Highway 105. Since my return home, I discovered that one of the residents has a photo journal of Washaway Beach here on WordPress at http://washawaybeachthisweek.wordpress.com/ with much more detail than I was able to manage.
In a way, it is fascinating to see the power of Nature. From another perspective, it was sobering to realize the forces that are continually at work here, reshaping the shoreline, destroying wildlife habitat as well as homes. I find it remarkable that there hasn’t been a program on PBS or the Discovery Channel; there is so much here to explore and learn about.
I came to Willapa Bay on my way to Westport to buy fresh albacore. I chose this route to learn more about Washaway Beach. I did learn quite a bit along the way and had the added bonus of seeing lots and lots of birds. My only frustration was the lack of places to pull safely off the road to get a closer look.
If you would like to see more information about how Washaway Beach earned it's name and what I saw there, visit my Word Press blog at:
But wait! There's more. You can have two blogs from one day trip. In a week or two, I will post another blog about what I saw in Westport.
In the mean time, something smells fishy around here.
I now have 54 half-pint jars of delicious albacore tuna to share with my parents and brother. Each canner load has to process at 10PSI for 110 minutes. What with heat-up and cool-down times, I finished last night (or early this morning) at 1:30AM. The pressure canner and all those jars are coated with a thin film of fish oil. The house reeks of fish, though I can no longer smell it unless I go outside for at least 15 minutes. I have had a leisurely day so far, but I simply must go clean jars and canner and my work area to get rid of that lingering fishy smell.
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Updated: 6:39 PM PST on December 22, 2014