UP THE BEACH: The more times change, the more things remain the same

It is the time of year to celebrate that the more time changes, the more things remain the same.


Ahh… What a beautiful September. Evenings with gorgeous sunsets that take North Beachers out with their cameras. Flocks of geese honking their way past the local Great Blue herons. Deer browsing everywhere stocking up on winter fat. Odd things beginning to tumble ashore in the surf.

It is the time of year to celebrate that the more time changes, the more things remain the same.

Acorn barnacles along for the ride

Interesting little beach critters currently in evidence are tiny Balanus — better known as acorn barnacles — that often attach themselves to whales passing though on their fall migration south. This species fastens to the skin of whales and grows to around two-inches in diameter. The shell is about a half an inch thick and full of cavities into which the skin of the whale is drawn, giving the barnacle a secure hold.

They can also be found on floating objects and attached to shells. The body is surrounded by a gold band of skin, to which is attached six or more plates and a fourfold lid that the critter can open and shut at will and is completely protected when it is closed.

If you tap a rock or shell where the barnacles are attached, and hold it to your ear you can hear the closing and opening of the many tiny doors. Local oyster growers are not as enamored of them as are the beach walkers because as the acorn barnacles attach to items intended for oyster embryos. They grow so fast they soon crowd off the oyster.

Clam season coming

While Balanus are pretty worthless in the overall scheme of things, clams are not, and boy is Dan Ayers the name on everyone’s lips as clam season is on its way. Rising marine toxin levels have prompted the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to delay upcoming razor clam digs at Long Beach and to review openings at Twin Harbor, but we’ve gotten the OK to dig on Copalis and Mocrocks beaches.

Elevated levels of domonic acid forced state shellfish managers to cut short the razor clam season in the spring of 2015 and delay opening again last fall.

Current tentative razor clam dig, along with evening low tides and beaches, is l: Oct. 14, Friday, 5:55 p.m.; 0.2 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks. Oct. 15, Saturday, 6:42 p.m.; -0.6 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks; Oct. 16, Sunday, 7:28 p.m.; -1.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks and Oct. 17, Monday, 8:16 p.m.; -1.4 feet for the same beaches.

Sunken vessel discovery

Sea stuff reminds one that The Corps of Engineers found an abandoned, derelict, metal vessel 27-feet long, 8-feet wide submerged in the deep draft shipping channel just north of Rennie Island near the Hoquiam River. The owner, liable for damages should a vessel be damaged by it, and also liable for cost of removal and disposal by the feds, is apparently lying low.

So, inquiring minds want to know now that the time has run out, what has the Corps done with it? The beachers have a real fascination with anything that smacks of a shipwreck.

Hatchery dog salmon

The beachers always have had a stake in any discussion regarding hatcheries, like the kerfuffle that occurred when the Stevens Creek Hatchery Project by the Aberdeen Rod & Game Club were going to be forced to close the hatchery on the Humptulips.

The guys built 5’-by-15’ ponds to raise trout, but they only produced dog salmon. They blamed the caretaker as being too lazy. He dumped all the chopped liver into one pond. But, they did admit that pond had some fine fat fish in it.

In the vein of the more old things change the more they remain the same, chalk up the current political season. In the October 1902 Aberdeen Daily Bulletin, it was reported that P.F. Clark, after visiting the North Beach, is assured that nothing but a Democrat will be able to supply the numerous wants to that country. The list of wants is legion and Pete’s hair actually turned grey listening to them.

On the other side of the fence, the Democrats were gleefully laughing over the fact that the hot air of the Republicans meeting at Iron Springs had their meeting broken up by a giant wave that washed the whole shebang out of the meeting room to flee up to higher ground.

Puyallup-White River hatchery

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is working to prepare an environmental impact statement on the Puyallup-White River salmon and steelhead basin hatchery. NMFS, WDFW, and the Puyallup and Muckleshoot Indian tribes are working together as it looks at eight hatchery and genetic management plans submitted by the three agencies.

Gene Woodwick can be reached at genewoodwick@coastaccess.com or by telephone at (360) 289-2805.