I think the ocean is awesome, and I know so little about the creatures that live there, especially away from shore. Unfortunately, as I discovered on a whale-watching trip a few years ago, I get quite seasick if I actually go out on the open water. So when I learned that there's a jetty at the mouth of Humboldt Bay -- a short drive from our house -- where one can walk nearly half a mile out onto the ocean, I was intrigued. Open water with ocean birds, mammals, and waves, but no rocking floor to try to stand on? Yes please!
On Friday afternoon, at low tide (apparently this place gets dangerous when the tide is high), Paul and I took a trip out to the north jetty at the Samoa Dunes Recreation Area, and it was indeed awesome. I don't often get to see waves from this perspective:
And surfers are downright novel for me; there were several people out enjoying the waves on Friday:
Yes, the ocean is intense:
I'm learning that Common Murres are quite, well, common at the shores around here, and a few of these birds were swimming in the water close to the jetty. This is such a handsome bird up close; I love that line behind its eye, and those big paddling feet and sleek pointed wings (so useful for moving underwater):
This murre had just popped up from a dive in this next picture, and it's still got its protective nictitating membrane covering its eyes:
An Osprey was hunting over the fog-shrouded waves:
It made some impressive dives, although I didn't see it actually catch anything:
Brown Pelicans were cruising around; these birds are downright massive, especially compared to the gulls that kept trailing them hoping for fish:
A few ocean mammals showed up, too! This Harbor Seal seemed to be watching us for a bit:
And a few Harbor Porpoises went by!
I can't believe I live in a place where I can see marine mammals. The birds and scenery are awesome, too, of course, but whenever I'm near open ocean I'll certainly be watching the waves for fins and faces. There's so much to see around here, and I'm still just getting started!