Sunday, September 30, 2012

In Search of the Elusive Sea Otter

Although rarely seen, there are sea otters on the Washington coast. I have seen them in the past, but haven't spent dedicated time to find them. One goal of this one day hike north of Rialto Beach (near La Push) was to see if any sea otters were floating merrily in the kelp. It was more an exploratory hike than a photo shoot. No tripod along.

We headed out to Johnson Point during a low tide. Once you are north of the popular Hole in the Wall, the true, rugged nature of the Washington coast becomes apparent. Rocks, kelp, and boulders are more the norm than beaches.

 Pelicans Resting and Prining 

Johnson Point is about 3 miles from the parking lot, but the terrain makes for slow going. Some areas had beautiful boulder fields or eroded sandstone. 

 Beautiful Anemone surrounded by pink

Upon reaching the bay, the only mammals in sight were a large group of seals resting on the rocks offshore. With the advent of the returning tide and nightfall, we headed back. Kayaking may be the best way to see this area, but it requires certain special conditions, namely calmer seas and low wind. We had those conditions on this day, but not the kayaks!

One added bonus was the atmospheric conditions at sunset. Due to distant but numerous fires inland, and an offshore breeze, the sunset was especially unusual and beautiful.