Rescue off Beach Drive seems fishy to local residents

There was a huge rescue call out tonight for a couple of divers off of Emma Schmitz near the rock pile where spear fishing for ling cod is a popular spot.

Neighbors noticed divers with lights surfacing and seeming to submerge when rescue boats were nearby. Eventually two divers appeared and said what was needed to satisfy the officials.


Many neighbors watching this are coming to the same conclusion… it seems a bit fishy. However, fishing for ling cod did open tonight!

Fishing Season is re-opened


Fishing is officially reopened today… perhaps some lucky fishermen and their household will enjoy some ling cod tacos for dinner tonight. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Eggcellent Biomass

A Fish & Wildlife worker was seen wading into Beach Drive waters yesterday following the movements from the huge flock of Bonaparte’s gulls. He was using a small rake to sample the extent of the rare herring spawn we experienced along the shoreline a few days back. According to an excellent article from the Kitsap Sun, this type of sampling is used to measure the metric tons of biomass (herring eggs) left behind.
Some long term Beach Drive residents that have fished these local water for over 40 years could not recall ever seeing a herring spawn here. From a wider Puget Sound perspective, 2020 may prove to be the largest spawning season on record. Observers north of Bainbridge in Agate Passage spoke to some old timers for their insights
Oleyar said he’s spoken to tribal members who haven’t seen an event of this size: “Some of them have lived here for 60 years or more and they haven’t seen this before. This is pretty historic.”
For the remaining eggs that survive, let’s cross our fingers for a return visit in about 3 years or so.
Scupper, reporting for the BDB

What’s with all the Seals and Sea Lions?

Did you get an early wake up call from the barking seals and sea lions this morning? There is a massive herring spawn taking place right now causing the light, milky patches in the sound and attracting a lot of wildlife, including seals, sea lions and eagles.


We captured this photo at Emma Schmitz Memorial Viewpoint where onlookers watched the packs of seals and sea lions take breaks from their feast. The lighter colored water is not typical. The PT Leader has a great description of what’s taking place:

“The CWI’s Anne Shaffer explained that “white water” is the colloquial term for the milt sprayed by males to fertilize the newly laid eggs.

“Scores of marine mammals and thousands of birds congregate to feed on the thick carpets of eggs laid on eelgrass and Sargassum seaweed along the shore,” Shaffer said. “The eggs are still developing but will soon hatch, marking the beginning the 2020 spring plankton season that, in turn, supports the rest of our Salish Sea food chain.”


It’s an amazing sight and I WISH my better camera was working right now.

We’ve noticed a few paddle boarders trying to get a close look at the sea lions and seals.

 

Flood of Debris Hitting our Shores

UPDATE 2/14/2020: Scroll below for more photos by our Intrepid Reporter, Scupper. We have also added a link to the My Coast app under Swell Links. 

Anyone else noticing the increased amount of wood debris along the shores of Beach Drive lately? I could hardly believe my eyes when I gazed out at the low tide this afternoon…

BDB confirmed with both King County & Washington State Dept of Natural Resources that the main contributor is likely from the recently flooded rivers in the region.

According to a spokesperson for DNR’s Aquatic Restoration, all the clean, non creosote soaked wood will be allowed to settle on our local beaches to help contribute to the natural habitat. The person that I spoke with mentioned that they were just out at West Seattle beaches removing toxic coated wood & debris off the beaches. She encouraged us to help promote their new app named “My Coast” that allows anyone to send a picture of toxic debris floating in the sound for cleanup.

The really big stuff floating out neat the shipping lanes is the responsibility of the Army Corp of Engineers. We spotted them picking logs onto a large barge yesterday morning.

Photos from February 14, 2020

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Possible Water Spout on Puget Sound

Yesterday one of our neighbors captured video of what looks like the beginnings of a water spout off the shores of Alki Point.

Video credit: Barb Howell

Other neighbors contacted us as well inquiring about the water wind wonder on Puget Sound. We don’t have any meteorologist in our household…but this certainly looks spouty to me!

USS Carl Vinson heading to Bremerton

The USS Carl Vinson CVN-70 is heading to Bremerton, the ships home-port.

Big Changes for Short Term Rentals along Beach Drive and Alki

If you or someone you know owns or operates a vacation rental along Beach Drive or along Alki, you may want to let them know about regulations that are going into effect January 1, 2019 that will prohibit short term vacation rentals on waterfront homes and potentially including homes within 200 feet of Puget Sound.

We believe this is an unintended consequence from the City of Seattle labeling short term vacation rentals as “commercial lodging” which is not permitted per the shoreline code. This includes detached single family residences, condos, apartments and homes that are within 200 feet of the high water mark of Puget Sound (homes across the street from Puget Sound could be included). Other areas may be included as well if they are within the shoreline management restricted areas.

From the City of Seattle – one of their many pages regarding Short Term Rentals (aka “STR”s):

“Floating on-water residences, waterfront residences, and other areas where lodging activities are prohibited by the Shoreline Code

We have owned and operated a short term vacation rental on Beach Drive for a couple of years. We are saddened that it looks like we will no longer be able to offer Beach Drive Bungalow as a vacation rental. Many of our guests over the years have been from neighbors and other Seattle-ites with visiting families.

Many who have owned and operated vacation rentals near the shoreline in Seattle may not know about this snafu. To our knowledge, there has been no notifications from the vacation rental platforms, like VRBO/Homeaway or AirbNb nor from the City of Seattle (unless you visit their website and try to make sense of the shoreline code).

I reached out weeks ago to our City Council. Today, I received my first response from a representative for O’Brien who stated:

“Thanks so much for reaching out to Councilmember O’Brien on this issue.  I am sorry for the complicated and confusing nature of our code and that your property is no longer eligible as a STR.  After looking into it a bit, my understanding is that this is due to the shoreline code – lodging activities are prohibited in Floating on-water residences, waterfront residences, and in specific shoreline environments.  This was not a policy choice about waterfront locations specifically but rather just making it explicit that defining short-term rentals as a lodging use (and not a residential use) means prohibiting STRs where lodging uses are prohibited by the shoreline code.   To modify this would require amending the shoreline code which typically requires working with and approval by the Department of Ecology.

Sorry to not have a more hopeful response for you.  Have you considered renting the property as a long-term rental?”

No response yet from our West Seattle rep, Lisa Herbold.

We do plan on reaching out to the Department of Ecology.

If you have questions, you can email: str@seattle.gov.

Sea lion #11?

Yesterday, yet another sea lion has drifted upon the shores around West Seattle. This one conveniently floated around the rip-rap sea wall right into the Don Armeni Boat Ramp. Although this sea lion wasn’t immediately pronounced “shot” by the person performing the necropsy, odds are pretty good according to recent history. Robin Lindsey of Seal Sitters informed me that it would be a couple of days following X-rays to determine cause of death.

Seal Sitters tape off latest victim.

The following video was taken yesterday afternoon , December 4th as a crew of folks worked to turn the large mammal over for examination. I can tell you now that it’s good practice to stay upwind!

 

Scupper. reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Argosy Christmas Ships passing by this Friday

Argosy2008The Argosy Christmas Ships are scheduled to sail along Beach Drive this upcoming Friday, December 7, 2018.  They are scheduled to be at Lowman Beach Park at 7:55 p.m. and then arrive at Alki Beach Park at 11:40 p.m.

Currently the weather for Friday looks like it will be cold and without rain. 🙂