Thursday, August 16, 2012

Camping On Whidbey Island - a little trip from before TAM

I wrote most of this post before going off to TAM, but couldn't post it because some of the videos refused to upload until after I got back from TAM. Hence, I'm posting this now.
I believe it was July 7 when Lou Ryan and I had a camping reason to head down to the dock and actually get into one of those boats that we see all the time.
` It has been a while since I've heard the loudspeaker announcement from inside the ferry, as well as the nice view of the Cascades, with the seagulls trying to keep up and checking us out:

Then I went out onto the deck to precariously look up at the seagulls from below, and found that video of seagulls is much easier to get than still photos:

While out there, I couldn't help but notice the Cathlamet ferry passing by the other way:

july 119

I even managed to get a fairly decent photo of a seagull from below:

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Have fun on the mainland, youse peoples!

july 123

Shortly before arriving at the Whidbey dock, I got some more video of the general action from the current 'front' of the boat, which I think you'll agree is somewhat engaging:

It wasn't until Lou Ryan and I had set up our tent by the parking lot at Whidbey Island State Park (among the 'Pastafarians' and such), that I bothered to use my camera again -- and this only to photograph a cruise ship passing by:

july 125

I don't even much remember what I did besides have a snack and talk to some people that I knew, and meet some people I didn't know so well. Then, I went down to the beach with Lou Ryan and got many more photos and videos.
` For example, here are the houses along the distant coast which are most likely to be drowned by a tsunami whenever that happens next.

july 129

Thinking that a video shot would be a good way to capture a huge panorama, I attempted to get a decent one of the beach. What do you think?

You can see Lou Ryan down there at the end by the driftwood. He evidently thought it would be sexy if he sat down on it, right next to a huge dead crab and then ask me for some intimacy. I then was troubled by the stench, until I realized where it was coming from:

The blocky-looking thing I had seen was not a cruise ship in the far distance, which I noticed with the help of my zoom lens -- it was just someone's pet boat, tied up in the water:

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Later on, back at the campsite, there was booze, and this humorous bottle opener:

july 135

Very soon, Lou Ryan became the life of the party, got out his guitar, and played some tunes for a new audience -- great, isn't he?

After a dinner of chili and salad and such at the pavilion, I checked out the stick fort made by the kid who is going with his mom to Africa, and later went back down to the beach on my own and did another panorama:

I think it was also around this time that I called and left a message for my friend Ron, back in Ohio, containing audio of the sea waving hello to him. Being distinctively sea-less, he really appreciated it.

Way in the distance, I could see the sickle-shaped curve of a sail, which I tried to get decent pictures of below the sun, only they kept getting a little too washed out:

july 140

Here's the Olympic Mountains, which look more three-dimensional when lit from the side:

july 141

It's the distant coast again, this time with a pinkish tinge:

july 143

The sun actually seemed to set into a cloud:

july 149

Here's a video of the sunset -- watch for the fish jumping!

Reminds me of the old Clarion Inn logo:

july 152

But wait, that's not the last we see of the sun -- only minutes later, the cloud began pooping the sun back out! I certainly didn't see that coming!

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From this view, the sun looks like a red Rectangle of Doom! Very strange!

july 163

Here's some dogs I saw playing on the beach, if that is interesting to anyone -- it's very unfair because only one of them would dare to jump into the water:

Back up at the campsite, we could see some fireworks and what appears to be a container ship:

And yes, I went back down onto the beach yet a third time before bed! This time, I was with three other girls, who assisted in me capturing images of mysterious cell-phone-like zigzags floating through the air!

july 172

I asked two of them what they were doing over there in the surf, and they said they were playing with bioluminescent dinoflagellates. I went over there as well and splashed my hand in the water. I saw a few sparkles, but not nearly enough to be picked up by my camera, as photographing them can be a very tricky matter.
` We did, however, manage to pick some of them up in our hands -- by waiting for one to land on the sand and then pick the bit of sand up. One of the girls was comfy enough lying in the sand, so I brought one over to show her.
` Despite lying in a bed that was sculpted to fit her own body, she eventually got up because the sand fleas were jumping all over her! They're also apparently attracted to light:

The stars were fairly bright, and we saw some other things in the sky, including satellites. At one point, we saw two satellites passing overhead, side-by-side and at the same speed. I tried to get a long exposure of it, but couldn't hold my camera still enough.
` It really was interesting, especially since anyone looking at that would see something that's silent and looks like it could be the wingtips of some large object and OMFSM, it's alienz!

I made another attempt for a pitch black beach panorama, but lack of visibility doesn't lend itself well to such things. However, I did get a nice photo of the candle lantern-thingy:

july 181

By the time I got back to the campsite, with some Lidocaine that we found on the ground nearby, Lou Ryan had lost his superpowers because he was just that super-drunk -- by far the most I've ever seen.
` Apparently, there was that much booze, and when someone just handed him a bottle of wine, that was it -- he was so unsteady on his feet that the others were afraid that he was going to fall into the fire! We were still having a good enough time anyway:

That, of course, led to another one of my crazy incidences, starting when I helped Lou Ryan to get back to our tent, which was right next to Jerry Schiffelbaum's tent.
` Being tired and spaced-out, I unfortunately let Lou take charge of things despite his falling backwards into some brush, at which I snickered maniacally.

Upon dropping our lantern-flashlight and having all the batteries fly out, he insisted that I hold his iPhone with its flash shining at a certain angle so that he could put it back together. He protested every time I said that it would be best to save batteries so that we could at least have one flashlight.
` With my arms getting tired, I would have just said "forget about it", but since the iPhone's battery readout said 20%, I didn't worry -- until it completely lost power all of a sudden and then Lou really started to get anxious.
` I gave him my cell phone, but that wasn't enough for whatever the hell he was doing in the tent, so he had me turn on the car headlights, which were also shining on Jerry's tent, which I didn't think was a very nice thing to be doing.

Not ever having been in such a situation before, however, I didn't know what else to do.

This one girl, Emily I think her name was, came by the car for whatever reason and I asked her if she had a spare flashlight. She did, and let me borrow it! Yay! However, Lou Ryan complained that it weighed ten pounds (probably did), and so had me hold it for him.
` As the wee hours of the morning rolled on, I figured that Jerry was probably getting really annoyed by this, and I kept expecting him to come over and ask what the hell was going on. He didn't, even when he got out of his tent. I was tempted to ask him for help, then, but I didn't do that, either.

I kept doing what Lou Ryan wanted, just to keep him quiet so that no one complained. At around 2 a.m., I was sure that he seemed to be going to sleep now, and so put in my earplugs in order to have a chance of enough quietness to sleep.
` Then, I noticed a cold breeze blowing on me, and realized that the inner part of the tent flap was open, so I went about untying the knot. Eventually, Lou asked me what I was doing and I explained, and he couldn't untie it, either, so he ripped the tie off and zipped it closed.

Grateful to be able to get to sleep now, I laid back down, and at that moment Lou demanded that I hold the flashlight for him because he was really struggling with something.
` I had trouble hearing what he was saying because I had the earplugs in, and wasn't about to take them back out because that would break down the foam structure and they would be less effective.
` Nevertheless, I was so not-awake that I didn't even look at what he was doing, but it required me to sit there holding a ten-pound flashlight above my head for about half an hour.

I think he was just trying to take his contacts out. If I'd known that at the time, I would have just told him to get into the car, which is full of lights.
` Finally, he let me lay down again, but then he collapsed on top of me, sobbing uncontrollably about being a complete mess or some such -- still couldn't hear -- and I was so mortified and exhausted that I just tried to pretend that he wasn't there.
` After he pushed me off my mattress pad a couple of times over the next twenty minutes or so, I eventually explained to him that he was drunk and really being annoying and did he not know what time it was? I'm not sure if that worked, but eventually he calmed down enough so that I could sleep.

I woke up early the next morning, and he asked, "How did you sleep, honey?"

He was incredulous when I told him about the preceding story, as he didn't even have a hangover, and also because this has never happened before. I told him not to worry about it and actually went to the kitchen and made him a sandwich.
` Well, it was more of a pavilion area than a kitchen, but yes, I toasted us a couple of bagel sandwiches, complete with cucumbers, and also talked up a storm as I usually do.

The alien creature, however, didn't have much to say:

july 183

There was quite a fog over the water that morning, and so when a cruise ship disappeared into it, and a ferry was going by, there seemed to be some sort of horn-blowing match between them. I was surprised to hear that the horn of a ship hasn't changed much since the early 20th century.
` There was so much of this honking that one person didn't want to leave her tent because she thought that an accident was about to occur and just didn't want to view the carnage. Ha!

Finally, the fog cleared up enough to see the distant coast.
july 184

Unfortunately, I don't remember much of the conversation, as can be expected, although I do recall that a couple of bald eagles made a low pass over the campsite.

And then, I saw... a book about a whole planet full of alien creatures! That is, this book lying on a bench caught my attention. It was called Expedition and was full of some really cool artwork.
` Then, I noticed the words Darwin IV -- the aliens' home planet -- which triggered a memory I had from the 1990s of one of the few people I knew lamenting that he couldn't find this book anywhere. As I'm now friends with him on Facebook, I sent him a link to this photo, which he appreciated:

july 186 Yay for Darwin IV!

I'd say, the paintings of the interesting creatures in themselves are worth a look!

It wasn't long before I headed back to the beach, climbing into a giant tree along the way:

Yet, another BeachPanorama. The tide is out this time, so the waves aren't so loud.

I'm not sure, but that blocky thing might be a Klingon garbage scow.

july 193

I then noticed a massive multicolored blob in the distance, emerging from the haze, and took some photos so that I could get a better look:

july 198

At last, it emerges from behind the beach:

 With comparison to other boats, you can see how truly huge it was!

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What's funny is, there was a gaggle of folks making their way down the beach -- you can see them in the far distance here as a brightly-colored mass -- and so far as I could tell, none of them even looked in the ship's direction, although most other people did.
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Here's shot from when it was even closer, with the Olympic mountains in the background.

july 206

Now this is really highbrow -- me talking on the phone with my gramma while watching the boat! Ha!

Here, the ship is getting farther away:

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I also saw this birdeh, but didn't get a good shot of it coming in for a landing.

july 216

As you can see, the ship is receding into the hazy distance:

july 220

Soon, it disappeared behind the distant coast:

july 222

After my beach foray, Lou Ryan and I packed everything up and drove all the way back to the ferry dock. It took a while to get there because of the huge line, so we did the practical thing and he left the car to pop into the Dairy Queen for a minute.
` While he was doing that, a guy was going by everyone's car, offering cherries as an incentive to buy some from his front yard. Clever guy!

At last, we got to the docks, which had a glass-block platform so that light reflected up. Speaking of glass, I took this photo through the observational area's glass:

july 225

Now it's our turn to ride the Kitsap!

Here's Everett in the distance:

july 234

Mount Pilchuck is nice, as always:

july 235

As it was a placid weekend, a great number of people were out in their sailboats:

july 239

Here's a couple more sailboats:

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And there's Mukilteo beach, as seen from the water:

july 243

A few minutes later, I was being greeted by Vada, who then flupped out on the driveway, inviting my attention:

july 244

Home at last, at my house, with my Lou Ryan, my roommate, our two cats, and our two suns:

That's the end of that PhotoStory. I hope to finish some more ScienceWriting soon, but as that amazingly takes longer than these posts, I'm not sure when that will happen.

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