Dawn Breaks on a Crustacean Clash

Three minutes before sunrise, a seemingly peaceful scene, but beach hoppers were tussling on the drift line. On the beach, the driftline was littered with seaweed debris. With the sun not yet shining brightly, and the air warm with almost no breeze, beach hoppers were out and uninhibited. If you’ve never hung out with beach…

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Closeups from the Cobbles

I have reasons to avoid cobbled shorelines. Legitimate reasons. They’re frequently steep, and they don’t hold a lot of material from the drift. Driftline treasures that do stick are apt to fall out of sight, lost in stony interstices. The largest cobblestones accumulate on the higher leveler zones, so even on level ground the footing’s…

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A View From the 2018 Wrack Line Through My Eyes

2018 was full of drift treasures. Some had human origins. Others were from rocky intertidal, subtidal, pelagic, estuarine, and terrestrial sources. Unravelling the stories of marine drifters, at least trying, is irresistible. Most will forever remain mysteries. That’s what keeps beachcombing compelling. Below, arranged chronologically, from the distant memories of last winter at the top,…

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A Jar’s Journey: Wrack Line Mystery

Closed tight, this empty glass jar floated as far as it could, washing ashore when it ran out of fetch on a cobble covered Oregon strand. It arrived in a beach cast of Velella velella, real-life professional drifters, so much so we call them by-the wind-sailors. The jar probably made landfall a few days before…

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Keep an Eye on Active Drift Logs

In timber country, any sandy beach with a backshore collects drift logs. Fallen forest trees end up in the rivers, down which they wash to sea. And there are other paths to the shore. Swaths of seaside forest slump onto the beach in landslides; and from the precipices, forest trees live out precarious lives, only…

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Bull Kelp, Graceful in the Drift Line

In life, bull kelp is the picture of grace. Its scientific name, Nereocystis luetkeana, is graceful too. What about after bull kelp’s short life ends, does it retain its grace? Every fall, storms dislodge bull kelp from its rocky anchors. Once adrift, some are tossed ashore where we can answer the question without getting wet.…

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A View of the 2016 Wrack Line Through My Eyes

Whenever I’m down in the swash or threading my way through backshore driftwood, or anywhere in between, I’m searching for things the currents, winds, tides, and surf deposit on the beach. This year the drift was full of treasures. Some had human origins, and there were plenty from marine, estuarine, and terrestrial sources too. Unravelling…

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Beach Hoppers Rejoice Over Drift Macrophytes

A foggy morning with low visibility and muted colors and sounds. Under these conditions you’ll find more action down at your feet than off in the distance. On this morning the air was still and warm. Sunrise added little more than glare and from the foredune the atmosphere was as oppressive as the view was…

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A Peek at the Wrack Line

  High winter tides and swells combined to push big wood up onto the backshore of this northern Oregon beach. Logs like these are usually the biggest material in the wrack line. They won’t last long. The forces that delivered them will wash them away. I took this on the morning of June 7, 2016. Sitka…

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Dosima fascicularis, A Pelagic Barnacle, Builds its Own Float

My first in-person encounter with buoy barnacles, Dosima fascicularis, came just a few days ago on March 26, 2016. People call them buoy barnacles or own-float goose barnacles. The names make sense because D. fascicularis can produce a foamy gas-filled float, alleviating the need to hitch-hike. The color, according to photos I’ve seen, varies from creamy…

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