Ikkatsu daily report – La Push to Third Beach

Posted by Ken Campbell August 11, 2012 2 Comments 2597 views
August 6, 2012
We didn’t leave the beach at La Push until about 1:00pm, which is pretty late, no matter how you look at it. Still, it left us with plenty of time to make it to Third Beach, and because of the Japanese TV crew that was attending us, that was set to be the extent of our paddling day. We did interviews in the morning and showed them the soccer ball we’d found on our last leg, which they were very interested in. (A little research on their part and they quickly located a coach from the club where the ball had come from. More on this as it develops… we’d love to be able to return the ball to its owner and complete this part of the story.)
With the cameras rolling, we paddled out into a gray mass of mist and choppy waves, heading south toward Crying Lady Rock. Along the way, we stopped at a little north-facing beach near the point that was protected from the wind by a fin of rock. An arch carved into the stone face beckoned, and we made our way through it, going from calm water to the lumpy stuff almost immediately. The passage south went through a straight canal of water between two high walls that funneled the wind and made every stroke a little bit painful.
But the contours of the coastline gave us adequate rest spots as well, places where progress was not difficult, where we could drift along and soak in the wonder of our surroundings. The high cliffs at the points alternated with the sandy expanse of the beaches, and smaller, rocky coves occupied the gaps between the outcroppings. We worked our way through the stacks off of Second Beach, then rounded the corner toward our destination.
We had been going slowly on purpose, to give the Asahi TV film crew time to drive to the trailhead and hike the path through the woods to Third Beach. Their camera and tripod came in at about 80 pounds and although the trail is fairly level, it’s still a long way to carry a load. As we got closer to the landing site, we saw the three of them walking and jogging along the sand toward us. We picked a spot that looked like it might have a decent camp site nearby, and rode the 3-footers in to the beach.
Third Beach was not on our planned survey list, but we set up a sample transect for the crew to film and walked them through the process, showing them examples of what we have been finding all summer. Plastic bottles, rope fragments and pieces of buoys and floats. Because Third Beach gets a fair bit of attention during beach clean-up efforts, there wasn’t as much debris here as there was on beaches just to the north and south, but there was no shortage of styrofoam, mixed in with the kelp balls along the tide line and deposited behind every log along the high end of the shore. We talked with the crew about the problem, they asked us many questions and shot video of just about everything before they left us.
Among the items that I found as I walked along the beach was a glass float. As it turns out, it’s a barrel float used in the Japanese octopus fishery and figures to be somewhere between 40 and 60 years old. It’s a light blue-green in color and I found it among the seaweed at the edge of the surf, covered in small barnacles and sea growth, but I knew instantly that I’d finally found something I’ve been looking for for a long, long time. It’s not exactly the two-foot glass ball that I was hoping for (I’m guessing that will be next, yes?), but it qualifies. It’s on my book shelf as I write this and I will look at it often in the years to come and remember the day that I found it, that gray, misty summer afternoon on the wild Washington coast.

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