Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Great Blue Heron

Our Noisy Dock Neighbor

We have a very noisy neighbor here in the harbor, loud and obnoxious, yet I miss him when we leave. This large blue heron makes his presence known at all hours of the day and night, when someone or something startles him, or wanders too close to his perch, or flies overhead, or whenever, just for the hell of it. His raucous squawk is at odds with his rather dignified appearance, a well-groomed, serious-looking dude until the wind ruffles his feathers. 

What a surprise that he ignored me today as I walked out on the boat deck to snap his picture yet again. He was perched atop a piling across the main pier, but the tide was high so we were eyeball to eyeball, sort of, at a distance of 20 feet or less. He must consider me a nuisance not worthy of a squawk. How annoying. The heron in Seattle are so nervous around me that they take flight as soon as I open a door, more than 60 feet away. This big guy just dissed me as harmless. Perhaps he enjoyed posing while I clicked away, frame after frame... unlike all of the other times when he turned his back just as I had the perfect shot composed. 


Sunday, October 24, 2010

October Storms

It’s a good day to be at the dock, checking the mooring lines and working on inside projects. It’s definitely not a good time to be out cruising on the local waters. Oh no, it’s far too lumpy and windy out there.

The barometer above only shows part of the plunge in barometric pressure for the past 24 hours. The needle on the right indicates the pressure at 0800 Saturday and the one on the left points to the pressure at 0830 today, Sunday. What you don't see is the even lower pressure in the very early morning hours. I woke up to hear the wind howling, I felt the boat moving, but I wasn’t about to jump out of a warm bunk to snap a photo!  

Today’s 0400 VHF marine weather reported a 963 MB low located 120 miles SW of Cape St. James at the southern tip of the Queen Charlotte Islands, and called out hurricane force winds NW of Vancouver Island. I believe it, 'cuz it's still pretty peppy here on the east coast midway up the island.

The 0900 local lighthouse and buoy reports called out some impressive numbers from the first of two fronts moving through… 
 - Queen Charlotte Strait, gale warning, winds SW 35 to 45 knots
 - Johnstone Strait, gale warning, winds SW 35 to 45 knots
 - Chatham Point, winds 30 knots and gusting, seas moderate
 - Cape Mudge, winds 35 and gusting, seas 6 foot moderate
 - Georgia Strait north of Nanaimo, winds SW 34 to 45

“Gusting” is such an vague word, it suggests a little increase in strength but cannot convey the impact of the building force and punch of a 65 knot wind gust.

Inside Discovery Harbor the highest gust I’ve noted today on our small weather station was 36 knots. That was enough to move us around a bit and really wobble the nearby sailboats. Their masts carve an impressive arc in the air as they roll. Strong winter storms usually come from the south, but we moor on the north side of the pier and blow off the dock instead of squishing our bumpers and blowing onto the dock. The Capt. is conservative and has the boat well secured. The locals laughingly call him SpiderMan, referring to the number of lines he uses. (You get a glimpse of the web in an earlier post.) Today's blow provided a really good read on how well the ten mooring lines are positioned, and whether any need to be adjusted after their 24-hour stretch.

We don’t need the second weather front to roar through tonight, not really. Couldn’t we just skip it and move on to calmer, drier days? Soon, please?