Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Westport, WA

We finally got a warm sunny day again!  Hooray!  We had a couple of sunny days a few weeks ago, but we were all dismayed when the weather returned to cold and rain.  We are desperate for summer to begin.  When the forecast said 78 and partly sunny locally and 64 and partly sunny at the coast, we jumped for joy...almost literally.  Mika was wanting to go shelling, and there was no way to tell when our next chance would be so we hit the road.

The first thing we did when we arrived at the beach in Westport was drop our stuff and visit the water.  Sam was the first to arrive.  He had a ball playing in the waves, though I wouldn't allow him to go deeper than thigh level because I didn't want to have to go in after him if the waves took him under.  He's not a strong enough swimmer and is not accustomed to the power of the waves.  Watching and worrying about him made me wonder what my parents thought allowing me to swim deep in the ocean.  I used to swim with the surfers past the breaking waves, and I've been pulled under by the waves and caught in a rip tide.  Fortunately, growing up near the California coast, I knew how to handle both situations and came out okay.

Here are three of the kids testing out the water.  They are my cautious ones.  Well, Maddie wasn't so cautious, but she found out that ankle deep water could knock her over and freak her out.

I love this picture.  It's so calm and peaceful.  So much different from this beach picture of her taken four years ago...

This photo was taken at Long Beach during the summer of 2007.

We managed to find some wildlife to look at.  Josh was especially enamored with the critters, and pointed them out on every speck of seaweed, wood, and rock.

Here's a close up of part of the wood they are inspecting.  These are baby gooseneck barnacles.  They look a lot different from mature gooseneck barnacles, which we saw at Haystack Rock last summer.  The shell portion is only about 1/2 inch long.  The long arm-like part is their stalk.

There was also some time for playing in the sand.  Madelynn also spent some time attempting to bury Sam.  Mika spent most of her time looking for shells but didn't find much more than clam shells and similar.  We did get some information about better places to look from the locals.  We'll be in the area again in a few weeks.

After spending a couple of hours on the beach, we headed into town to see what else we could find and to look for shops that might sell shells.  We found the jetty.  Nearby we found a three or four story tower to climb that provided good views of the area.  The kids loved it, though it freaked Josh out a bit to be so high.  Maddie's apparent lack of fear freaked me out as she tried to run around and climb the rails at the top.  We climbed the jetty rocks.  Being unaccustomed to it, the kids were a bit nervous about falling.  Josh, who has always been a great climber, was surprisingly fearful.

We walked along the boardwalk, looking through the shops and found ice cream cones and wind up toys.

They also had mini, 30-cent cones that were perfect for Maddie.

Josh loved this goofy hat.  Sam found a water gun that he wanted, but I quietly explained to him that touristy gift shops were not the best place to buy toys due to the mark up.

We walked down some of the dock on the way back to the car because Josh wanted to see the boats.  We watched a fisherman filleting a freshly caught salmon.  There were tons of seagulls, of course, and we saw pelicans.  Looking out into the marina, we saw several sea otters swimming around too.

Finally, we headed home because we had to get back in time for taekwondo.  This plant was growing like weeds along the side of the row.  I'm not sure what it is but it may be one of several nasty plants.  One of those is  cow parsnip which contains a phototoxin that can cause anything from a mild rash to blistering, severe dermatitis.  Different kinds of hemlock also look similar and are extremely poisonous.  The giant hogweed looks just like it but is much larger, and the sap causes phytophotodermatitis (severe skin inflammation).  Because the large stalks are hollow, kids like to use them as binoculars, causing burns to their eyes that can lead to temporary or permanent blindness.  Images of the effects are horrific and saddening.  So, stay away from plants that look like this.

Then, of course, there's always the ominous-looking cooling towers of the never completed Satsop Nuclear Plant.  It's hard to imagine how big these things must be up close.

It was a good visit with one exception: Mom forgot how strong the sun is at the beach.  All of us were burned, though Josh is the worst.  The poor guy has been unable to wear a shirt all day.  I've been rubbing Burt's Bees After Sun Cream on his back, giving him tylinol and motrin for pain, and having him wear damp baby blankets over his shoulders.  He's going to be peeling in a couple days.  Meanwhile, I will be looking for some safe sunscreen, if I can find any locally.

I really love these day trips.  I miss the early years of school when we had the time to do them throughout the school year.  I'll have to see if I can work them back into our schedule more.

Stumble Upon Toolbar