Wednesday in Washington State

Wednesday was a travel day as I traversed the short distance between Grayland and Hoquiam, where I would be spending two nights before heading up to the Olympic Peninsula.  I first returned to Westport, which I had spent most of my time in on Tuesday.  It is on a small peninsula at the southern mouth of Grays Harbor, a large body of water about a third of the way up the Washington coast.  The day started out with a heavy overcast and it ended up staying that way all day.



Here is another fishing boat headed out to round up the “catch of the day”


I then drove counter-clockwise around the Harbor through Aberdeen and Hoquiam and went out on the peninsula which stretches down to form the northern mouth of the Harbor entrance.  The southernmost town there is Ocean Shores.  Before reaching Aberdeen I saw another famous Ocean:


I was told when I stayed in Coos Bay, Oregon a while back that as I proceeded north I would start seeing cranberry bogs.  I have seen them in New England, where Ocean Spray is based, but never thought I’d find them on the west coast.  Well, I have seen lots of cranberry bogs, and two cranberry museums!  There was a small Ocean Spray facility down near Grayland but it seemed to be a gathering spot for crews harvesting berries.  This plant, near Aberdeen, was much larger and given it’s proximity to the Harbor is probably for processing and shipping cranberries.

After I visited the Coastal Interpretive Center in Ocean Shores I drove north on the highway which took me there as far north as I could, to the little town of Taholah.  The last 8 miles of that drive was on the Quinault Indian Reservation.  Highway 101, which I have used all the way up the coast from Los Angeles, stays pretty far inland once it gets past Grays Harbor in order to get around the Quinault Reservation which is quite large.

I have noticed that beach access is much more limited in Washington than it was in Oregon, and that the State Parks in this state are much quicker to charge entry fees.  Most of the State Parks in Oregon were free (and ALL beach access is) but the more popular ones tended to have a modest $5 fee.  The beaches I have see so far have been more ordinary (not that there’s anything wrong with that) than the rocky, picturesque beaches further south.  And the highways in Washington are mainly lined with trees so while it is harder to get to the beach is it also more difficult to even see it!  Who knows, when I get north of the Reservation tomorrow I may find more interesting scenery….

After my nice drive I returned to Hoquiam, met and visited with my Airbnb hostess and had a yummy taco dinner in town.

Coastal Interpretive Center

Wednesday I visited this facility in Ocean Shores, Washington.  Here are some interesting things I saw:

This is an Ocean Sunfish:


This particular specimen isn’t very big (the main body was maybe the size of a large frying pan) but according to some photos I have seen online recently these fish can grow to be grotesquely large.

Next, a Green Sea Turtle:


Remember “Crush” in the movie Finding Nemo?

Next, a very ornate Hawksbill Sea Turtle:


And a little bit closer look at it’s shell, head and flipper:


And finally, a red-tailed hawk.  I just love watching these fly….


Unfortunately this guy’s flying days are over.


The Japanese God of Fisherman, God of Luck or the Laughing God.  Take your pick.

I learned about this while I was at the Coastal Interpretive Center in Ocean Shores, Washington on Wednesday.  Back in 2013, Nick Sparagno, his wife, daughter, grandson and their dogs were walking on the beach in Ocean Shores when their dog Annie uncovered something in the surf.  Turns out it was a wooden statue of the Japanese God Edisu which is believed to have been carried out to sea by the massive tsunami which struck Japan in 2011 (they found other debris from Japan on the beach as well).



I tried taking a picture looking straight at it but it is in a glass case and the sliding doors created 2 unattractive lines right down the center!

Here is a photo which appeared in the local newspaper back in 2013.  As you can see, the statue is just as tall as the Sparagno’s two-year old grandson, Noah.


(Photo credit: The Ocean Observer)

And here is a photo Alison Nelson, Noah’s mother, took the day of the discovery:


(Photo credit: Alison Nelson)