A common cycle for beaches consists of erosion of during winter storms followed by deposition from river sediments during spring runoffs. Whidbey Island suffers from having no rivers to recharge the sediment, so you have only half of the cycle. Some of your beaches are sustained from erosion of adjacent bluffs. -Curt
Keystone Jetty mix. Some above and some under. If the beach erosion continues, we will be soon parking on the highway :( Although the scene above looks bleak, there is still color to be found underwater.
Keystone is hosting gathering of Wrinkled dogwinkle snails as it does every winter. This year it seems that there are attending the reproductive convention in larger numbers than year ago. Is this happening in such numbers elsewhere in Puget Sound also ?
It has been a while since I visited Keystone's old wharf, better known as The Pilings. It used to be a home to clouds of fish, many octopus and juvenile Wolf eels and Plumose and Painted anemones were presented in much more numbers. But as the time passes, there is less and less of variety, so I now visit the cathedral of pilings only occasionally. I could see right away that lot of the decking is gone, victim to the December 20, 2018 storm, ropes now hang between some of the pilings, remnants of lost crab traps, and the only fish in any numbers were the Tubesnout. Young Cabezon was the only "prize"...
Another place which was hit hard by the December wind storm, not far from Keystone, is the appropriately named Driftwood Park. Lot of the driftwood which gave the beach its name ended up in the two shallow ponds created during road construction. Some of the wood even covered the main highway and was later moved to the roadside where it now competes with the beach as Driftwood Park attraction. And some of it floats on top of the ponds, so it was only natural for me to done my dive gear and go in to see, what it looks like under the surface. The visibility was of course lousy, the fish eye lens makes it look better than it is. I was looking for critters which could possibly enter the pond along with the flotsam ocean waves brought in across the breach. But I found only Moon jellies, which were there before the calamity. The bottom is muck and chunks of what used to be grass covered shore now rest under the surface. My drysuit leaked, so getting soaked during my excursion added to the feeling of desolation of the place. :(
Keystone Jetty Saturday dive, more views from underwater, post storm scenery. Chunk of concrete bearing the Geo marker ended up underwater, many feet away from its original position. The Wrinkled dogwinkle snails are gathering for their annual mating/ egg laying, covering many of the jetty rocks. As do Leafy hornmouths. Who named these snails ?
This winter seems to punch our region hard. The storm of December 20 completely changed the Keystone Jetty landscape above the water. My first dive there since that storm, this time on glassy calm day, provided some new features underwater as well. The Keystone Harbor Entrance Light 2 did not survive the fury of the seas and now provides home to Northern Kelp Crabs
Langley Harbor. Critters and little bit of history about the tire reef which made this locality a dive destination in the past, before the expansion of the harbor closed it for diving. There is now noticeable decline in variety and numbers of marine life comparing to the "good old days". And I am not even talking about the sea star population crash. There are hundreds of baby stars now present, but if it will return to "normal" is uncertain. The Sunflower stars are missing in the picture. But when the winter winds batter the coastline of Whidbey, Langley usually provides save haven for a survey dive.
Jan: I have never dived Holmes Harbor, but I have some pleasant memories of evenings at anchor there. I seem to remember that you found some sand dollars there once. Am I right? And Merry Christmas to you as well. -Curt
Yikes! I'm guessing not the best conditions for my first "experiencing Keystone" dives!!!
More Pics Than You Have Time To Look AT "Anyone who thinks this place is over moderated is bat-crazy anarchist." -Ben, Airsix "Warning: No dive masters are going to be there, Just a bunch of old fat guys taking pictures of fish." -Bassman