So thankful to be relieved of the heat and smoke, I ventured out to the beach to see if the Olympic Peninsula and Mountains still were out there. Getting out early, I found the Marina Beach free of humans, and full of birds! The water was smooth and calm, the air clean and fresh. It was a lovely morning to be at the beach!
I soon spotted a bald eagle perched on “that one pole” some 20 or so yards off the shore. Down at the end of the dog park, a blue heron was searching for some breakfast. Just as I found a good spot to respectfully watch the eagle, I noticed him getting antsy. I was no threat to him, well on the shore, and — surprisingly — the crows opted to search in the sand for their breakfasts, rather than harass the eagle. The eagle had seen, from his high perch, what I had not just yet: a fast-moving sports boat headed out of the marina. Soon after, another sped out, both going at high speeds, both passing too closely to “that one pole.” The eagle flew off into the trees on the hill.
Not thinking too much of it, I strolled along. At my next stopping point, something in the water a few yards out caught my attention. A harbor seal! What a treat! It had popped its head up and seemed to be breathing in a lung full of the fresh air, much like I was. Again, just as I had settled myself to observe this beautiful creature, it dove down into the water, quickly, as if it were in danger. Out came another speeding sports boat, creating a large wake, disturbing the once-glassy water surface.
Now paying better attention to what else was on the water I was shocked to see the panoramic view of Puget Sound was filled with fishing/sports boats!
Seeing all these boats clustered around, knowing they were out fishing for our beloved salmon, really saddened me. I say this, even as a once avid sports fisherperson myself. Our salmon populations are precarious. Our waters are becoming more polluted. What was once a sacred fishing ground for Native Americans (who needed the salmon to survive) was now dotted with people out pleasure fishing.
It was difficult to comprehend all this as I saw so many boats speeding out of the marina as if they were late for work. The waters that we must share with many other creatures were being disturbed, depleted and polluted by folks out for sport. Sure, it may be fun. I get that, as I once eagerly waited for any free moment to get my rod and reel out. But for the sake of the bigger picture of our area, might there be another way to relax and have fun that has less impact on us all?
As I turned to leave Marina Beach, sad and confused, frustrated and unsure what to do, a shadowy figure emerged behind me. The easterly rising sun provided only a silhouette, but it was a much needed one. A woman was walking the beach, wearing a sun hat, but also rubber gloves and toting a plastic garbage sack. She was searching the shore — not for keepsake shells or rocks — but to collect garbage. She was a blessing for sore eyes and a sore heart. I couldn’t keep up with her to thank her, but if she is reading this, I cannot thank you enough. Thank you for keeping our shores and waters clean, for all who enjoy it, especially those who call it home. Thank you!