Scope it out…what you can’t see

Unless you have a full tank of air and scuba gear, you’d miss out on one of the best dive sites and Ling Cod fisheries in the Seattle area. The Alki Rock Pile is located just a couple hundred yards west/southwest off the seawall. An orange buoy marks the deepest end of a carefully designed underwater debris field used to house several different species of Puget Sound bottom fish. Architects of the reef describe how it was built…

“A total of 181,400 metric tons of quarry rock was used to construct fourteen 41 m· 15 m· 6 m (high) reef structures in a 2.83 ha area during May 1987. This design of a 1:2 ratio of reef material: sand bottom also accommodated the trophic level relationships normally occurring for fishes feeding from reef structures and surrounding natural habitats.”

Although resident sea lions have had their fill the last couple of years, fisherman still swarm the reef on May 1st for the limited Ling Cod season. Divers get their shot on the 3rd week of May with increased odds…

LingDivers

Divers haul their speared catch up to Beach Drive via Emma Schmitz Park.

The Alki Rock Pile is now used worldwide as a reference point for designing & building artificial reefs.

Wondering where all those ships passing by are headed or where they’ve come from? All those answers plus much, much more are waiting for you on MarineTraffic.Com. You can also download their app for any of your smart devises. The program uses AIS transmitting which nearly all commercial vessels are required to operate while under way.

Just simply click on the real time chart of ships/boats under way and a plethora of info about the vessel pops up. I use an AIS receiver in combination with radar on board s/v Pointless when I’m running in the fog or at night.

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Puget Sound is the home to a couple of marine giants. The Giant Pacific Octopus is the world’s largest invertebrate with the largest known rumored to be 600 pounds with an arm span of about 30 feet. Their copper based blue blood is pumped by 3 hearts! Maybe that’s why they like to “hug” so much.

1963_World_Octopus_Wrestling_Championships

4th through 111th place divers may still be somewhere down in Davy Jone’s Locker near Tacoma WA. 😉

The other world record holder is known as the Sunflower Seastar. Amongst to largest and heaviest in the 7 seas, these stars commonly grow between 2 to 3 feet in diameter and are the 2nd fastest movers of all the seastar species. They are veracious eaters and will often try to eat the bait in our crab pots. It’s depressing when you start to pull the pot thinking it’s full of sweet Dungeness and come to find out it’s one of these big mothers draped over your pot!

P.helianthoides

Nearly all west coast sea stars of all types were wiped out in 2013-14 via the mysterious Sea Star Wasting Disease. Many areas from Baja to Alaska are seeing a healthy recovery so we’re all keeping our fingers crossed.

 

If you were to swim, paddle or sail less than a half mile straight out from the sea wall and gander to the south, you’d catch a booming view of the undisputed king of the Cascade mountain range, Mt. Rainier…

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The Alki Yacht Club or AYC was founded in March 2016 by yours truly. The bungalow’s lower floor doubles as the club house although I’ve yet to have a meeting or function there. The club originated when my brother (lives on Maury Island) wanted to have a planning meeting with some sailing buddies and I for a trip around Vancouver Island. Our house seemed like the logical place to have it so he joked “let’s meet at the AYC to plan & watch the Seahawks game”. I figured there must’ve been an Alki Yacht Club at some point in history given that Alki was the birth place of Seattle but found nothing in google and snapped up the URL on GoDaddy. The logo was designed by a artist buddy and Rhonda laid it out with pennies on the downstairs bathroom floor! We have about a dozen members and an official cocktail but that’s about it.

AYC

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