Need more kayaks

Sailboats on Commencement Bay
Sailboats on Commencement Bay
The turnout was like the weather – less than ideal by most peoples’ judgment. To that, I say “BAH!” There was plenty going on from my perspective and if you didn’t make it out, bummer for you. If you live in Washington and can’t appreciate the weather last night, then please move to Florida NOW. Seriously, go on. The sailboats were out in force, nearly running us over on their way to the Tacoma-side buoys. I liked seeing the action up close as they switched their sail configurations to head back across Commencement Bay towards Browns Point and Northeast Tacoma where they began. Although there were sufficient winds for the sails, the water was the calmest I’d encountered in Commencement Bay. It was an eerie calm. In fact, you could’ve tried your hand waterskiing out there if you wanted. As the sailboats rounded the buoy and turned back, I saw a big seal pop up out of nowhere. It’s head was the same size as my dog’s. It bobbed around for a minute or so and then disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. Apparently, seals can hold their breath really well and they definitely do NOT come when you call em. I tried everything – whistles, kisses, all the usual dog-luring noises – no luck. While the seal chose to ignore me, the biggest barnacles I’ve ever seen had no choice but to entertain me.
Pilings on Commencement Bay
Pilings on Commencement Bay

The pilings that comprise all the deserted old docks along Ruston Way currently house barnacles the size of small eggs. Their beaks are the same size of those on small birds. When you touch a piling with a kayak paddle, they all recoil into their shells. Not only do they move a lot, but they make noise too. These giant barnacles live far down on the pilings, so they’re only exposed on low-tide. I tried to take several pictures of a single barnacle, but you can’t really utilize the camera zoom in a kayak. The constant movement resulted in me deleting 95% of my pics. Photography from a kayak is definitely a specialized skill, involving luck as much as anything. For a similar experience, take your camera and have someone give you a piggy back ride – try to take some closeup photos while riding piggy back and you’ll get the idea of what it’s like. I’m just glad I wasn’t dealing with real film, or last night would’ve been really expensive. So, in closing, Tacoma, I will definitely plan on seeing more of you next week. Things like this need time to build steam, I understand. Many are afraid of inclement weather, I understand. Those of you who were on the fence last night – you know who you are – you will eventually do the right thing and join us. Official turnout calculated by me: 25 sailboats, 2 kayaks, and a dozen walkers. Not bad for a gloomy night, but Tacoma can definitely do better.

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