For more on the West End Beaches of the North Olympic Peninsula, see our West End Beaches page.
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Mysterious sea stack at Second Beach

09/03/07 - The Eagle and the Shark

Second Beach was hazy, gray and mysterious today. We went for a high low tide and managed to get to the sea cave but no farther. The air was thick, moist and salty, the sea silver and the tidal flats glassy. There was a bit of melodrama as if lifted from a nature documentary.

On our way south to the sea cave we noticed a small shark stranded on a sand bar. We considered helping, but were separated by a rather deep bit of water. It wasn't clear we could get to the shark without getting soaked. Besides, there had just been an article in the New York Times about a shark saved at Rockaway Beach. The shark had been "saved", but a day later it was found washed ashore, dead. Healthy sharks stay in the water.

As we returned from the cave and watched the rising tide, we saw an eagle swoop in the distance. We knew its target, the shark. The shark was still alive when we passed, but the eagle was guarding it. We kept our distance. There is no point in having a dust up with one's national emblem. While we like shark, we were willing to give him or her dibs on this one.

This sort of scene is part of nature's way. We know that, but it usually is done off camera.


The eagle and the shark

Keywords: second beach, beaches, birds, eagle


04/26/07 - Second Beach Report

In honor of Second Beach being reopened, we've updated our Kaleberg report, and we've added lots of new pictures in hopes of luring more people to this often overlooked gem on the Pacific.

Mystical seascape at Second Beach

Keywords: second beach, beaches, kale


04/15/07 - Second Beach is OPEN

While there is no official agreement yet, the local Quillayute tribe feels that they are close enough to reopen Second Beach for the tourist season. This is great news. It means that one of our favorite beaches is being reopened, and that the Quillayute will have somewhere to go in the event of a tsunami. Since this is a local matter, there is not all that much in the media, but check out this KNDO/KNDU/AP article and this Peninsula Daily News background piece and update.

Keywords: second beach, beaches


04/12/07 - Rialto Beach

We were able to get past the one mile crossing on our latest visit. There is much less water flowing in the stream there, so the water is only a few inches deep down by the ocean. Watch for the tumbling rocks, and don't stop for long. The water will undercut you.

We sighted several eagles, some starfish, and the crew, with tents, carts and cameras, out on a Tommy Hilfiger fashion shoot. It was quite a production.

Keywords: rialto beach, beaches, eagle


03/26/07 - Wild Water at Rialto Beach

One of the problems with visiting Rialto Beach when one is very clumsy is that about a mile north of the parking lot there is a river to cross. Most of the time this river is rather shallow, so we wade across. One time, the tide was so low that we could cross near the ocean where the river ran under the sand. On our last visit, we could not cross at all. As you can see in the picture to the left, or more graphically in our video, the spring rains have filled the river nicely. The water was deep and the current strong.

Even if we had not been so clumsy, our crossing was unlikely. Most of the crossing logs have been washed away. A few intrepid sorts had managed to cross on some logs a bit upriver, but this was beyond us. We'll be back at Rialto Beach again soon, and we'll hope the high waters have subsided.

Keywords: rialto beach, beaches, spring, spring rain


06/13/06 - Return to Rialto Beach

We have been missing Second Beach, which is still closed due to a failure of our government to complete a sensible land swap with the Quillayute tribe. So, we decided to go back to Rialto Beach, and it turns out that we have forgotten just how beautiful it is there. We explored up past the first headland and had a little jungle journey, and we took lots of pictures. While we still miss Second Beach, Rialto Beach has a lot to offer, even to us Kalebergs.

UPDATE 06/21 - We've added a panorama of the beach for those who have wondered what the seastacks must look like from a helicopter.

Between Two Seastacks at Rialto Beach
Hurricane Hill Trail
Hurricane Hill Flowers

Keywords: rialto beach, beaches, flowers, hurricane hill, second beach, kale


Dungeness Spit Composite

10/23/05 - Coastal Panoramas from the Olympic Peninsula

We were browsing the web and came across the Washington State Department of Ecology's Shoreline Aerial Photos database, and we couldn't resist putting together a couple of composite images. The one linked to above is of the Dungeness Spit. The image above is just the image chip, click on it for the full 5910 x 448 image. The one linked to below is of Second Beach, the image is 3916 x 710. That California Coastal Records database gets all the attention, but the Washington State Coast has its charms as well.

Second Beach Composite

 For a bit more info on these composite pictures, you can see our coastal composite page.

 

Keywords: panoramas, beaches, dungeness, dungeness spit, second beach, washington state


TideCal Software

08/05/05 - TideCal - Tides for iCal

We often like to hike out the lighthouse at Dungeness Spit or take the Cape Alava - Sandy Point hike out near the northwest corner. These hikes take you a long way along the water in the Strait of San Juan de Fuca or along the Pacific, and while they are always wonderful hikes, they are best done when the tide is low and the sun is in the sky. Sometimes we check the tide tables to figure out when to go hiking, but sometimes we forget to check the tide tables, and we don't get to some of our favorite beaches.

Now, Kaleberg Symbionts has a new software solution to this problem. It's a simple program called TideCal for Macintosh users that lets you generate an iCal calendar file with just the tides you want. We want low tides, between noon and 3PM, so we can hike and get back in time for dinner. In general, tides under 3 feet are best, so we've put those tides on our calendar. Maybe we won't take advantage of one particular tide, but now we won't miss out just because we forgot to check the tide tables.

Keywords: software, tides, beaches, cape alava, dungeness, kale


The Cave at Second Beach

07/01/05 - Solstice Tides

Thanks to the solstice, there have been some very low tides out at the West End beaches. This includes our favorite beach, Second Beach. At the south end of the beach there is a small cave that you usually cannot even get to at high tide. At low tide, the entrance is accessible from the beach. We went on a day with a particularly low tide, as you can see on the left, with only 0.8 feet of water. (If you want to plan your own low tide visit, check out our Tide Finder program, or our tide table for La Push).

Aside from being able to explore various caves, the low tide also brought up a lot of starfish. You can see them bunched up near the waterline on a mussel rock. We have never seen so many starfish stacked together like plastic toys. We could also see a lot more anemones, and not just the dull sand covered ones, but lovely blue-green ones, in the shallow tidal water. We only saw one eagle, but we were quite impressed with Second Beach nevertheless.
Seastacks at Second BeachHuge Number of StarfishBlue Anemones

Keywords: tides, second beach, beaches, la push, software, eagle


06/01/05 - Tide Finder for Finding Good Tides

While there are many programs for producing tide tables, there do not seem to be any programs for finding a suitable tide. For example, if you want a low tide during the day for exploring Cape Alava or walking the Dungeness Spit, you have to wade through listings of high and low tides. Tide Finder program is based on FlaterCo's XTide 2.6 package, and provides a Mac OS X friendly user interface for specifying a tide search. You specify a tide reporting station, a range of dates, a desired range of times and the desired tides, high or low. It gives you a hit list, a calendar and a tide graph.

Keywords: software, tides, beaches, science, cape alava, dungeness spit, second beach, dungeness


01/05/05 - Sunset at Second Beach

Do we have great sunsets around here or what?

We were out at Second Beach near La Push and couldn't help noticing a rather pretty sunset. The sea stacks, in silhouette, were pretty neat too.
Second Beach Sunset

Keywords: second beach, beaches, atmosphere, la push


07/20/04 - Rialto Beach and Second Beach

Rialto Beach is one of the most accessible of the West End beaches. You can even park right at the beach and climb over some driftwood to get at the waves. They even have a wheelchair accessible picnic area.

Since we like to get some exercise, we usually head out to Second Beach which is just across the Quillayute River. There is some satisfaction with the 3/4 mile rain forest walk you have to take to the surf, but Rialto beach offers instant gratification.

Of course, if you do get a mile or two north of the parking lot, you'll find a nice little headland climb if you want to continue. We usually just turn around and check out the sea stacks again.

Rialto Beach
Aside from sea stacks, like the one shown below, and nice walking beach, you can also see pelicans, seals, cormorants, and bald eagles. They were near extinction back in the 1960s, thanks to DDT, but now they have made a comeback.  We  often find them high on the tall trees just beyond the driftwood line on the beach.




Sea Stack at Rialto Beach

Keywords: second beach, beaches, birds, rialto beach, eagle


06/24/04 - The Fawns of Cape Alava

Cape Alava is at the far western edge of the North Olympic Peninsula, so it is a bit of a drive. However, it is well worth it. There is a hike from the corner of Lake Ozette, through rainforest and meadow to the Cape, then south along the beaches with their mysterious sea stacks and tide pools to Sandy Point, and then back along a different trail to the ranger station.

To the right, you can see one of the seasonal charms of the area. The deer, even the fawns, are relatively unperturbed by overly excited photographers. We saw two fawns with their mother (presumably), and we saw a river otter on the Hoko-Ozette Road back home. We also saw a little salt water turtle and a large striped frog.

Today, the walk was easy. The tide was low, well below one foot while we were there, so it was easy to go rock hopping around the points. It was also dry, so the boardwalks weren't slippery. Finally, it wasn't too sunny, because the beach can get a bit oppressive with the full sun bouncing off the Pacific.

We have as yet to find the petroglyphs, but we'll keep looking.

For more on the trail, see our web page for Cape Alava.
Fawn at Cape Alava

Keywords: animals, cape alava, beaches, petroglyphs


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