What's it like there? Jen asked ...
Sent: 2/1/2000 12:32 AM
I've never been to the Pacific Northwest, despite Cathe's repeated invitations.
I replied: Today it's gray but all last week was shirtsleeves and sunny.
Today the dawn was absolutely amazing. Sky was a sort of ordinary azure event, but there was a frost about 3/8" long on everything, and so I went kayaking really early. I left black footprints in the sand on the beach as I carried the boat to the water.
(Break from having fun to do taxes)
Tide was way way low when I went out this evening, so I carried the boat down to the point - about 80 yards probably - and put in down there. Water was just starting to turn that molten-lead orange color and the mountains still had alpinglow on them so I just floated a few yards offshore and turned slowly around and around and around, watching the colors on the mountains to the north, east and south and generally drank it in.
Then, when the light stabilized into dusk, I went looking for otters, but instead I found some diving ducks and went in close to the breakwater at the mouth of the marina to see what they were up to and discovered some big blue starfish mixed with the usual collection red and orange ones - and then a fish jumped and another fish jumped and another and I realized that the reflection I was seeing was not a reflection at all - I was right in the midst of a school of fish. My guess-timate is that there were at least a million. The school was about 10 feet wide, 3 feet deep and 80 feet long. And almost solid fish - or at least 50% fish by volume. A tennis racket used as a sieve would have brought up a plateful. They were about the size of sardines or maybe herring. Most were under 4" long and wonderful silver color with what seemed to be a yellowish-sienna tint around the edges. Sharon at Silverwater said they are Anchovies.
They would all turn as one and were forming beautiful waves that would pour like the swirling patterns of colored ink on the marbled end-papers in old art-books or like cream mixing with coffee in a clear glass ...
I stayed out until it was really dark.