“Hey, Dude; You Binging or What?”

FIRST, as a Public Service Announcement- The Makah Tribal Council has closed the Neah Bay Reservation to non-tribal members until April 27.  You know why.  Yeah, keeping the waves to themselves.                                                                                                                             NO, but it does impact surf traffic out to the various spots on the Olympic Peninsula.          BUT, the good news is there isn’t a particularly great looking swell in the immediate forecast.  I originally heard about the shut down from Stephen Davis, thought I could verify it and pass it on.  “WAIT, what about La Push?”  I don’t know. Maybe it’s open for surfing.  “How is La Push on a two foot swell?”  Hmmm.  Accounts vary.

I haven’t been stuck at home, actually, but I did actually spend about ten minutes yesterday watching a live feed from a beach in Oregon, with some guy trying to get in waves that were not that daunting.  After five minutes I was saying, “PADDLE HARDER you Kook/Hodad/Gremmie/Punk, it’s not like pushing through crowds at Costco, cutting through the line waiting for the next batch of toilet paper, a line of Costcoites and carts that stretched halfway back along the outside wall (‘excuse me, Comrade, I’m cutting through, not in’), getting the next to the last should-be-lifetime supply of paper towels, some old (older than me) guy elbowing me before I could go back for the last one (this was the Kirkland brand, they still had the Bounty, though not in bounty- ha, ha; and besides, I was too busy giving the stinkeye to piggy/hoarder shoppers filling their big ass carts with bottled water and baby wipes to actually pig out myself).  It’s a lull, Hipster Surf Enthusiast,  PADDLE!  It’s not like you’re squeezing in next to the woman who would otherwise be handing out free samples (and there are NO FREE SAMPLES), but is, instead, opening a stack of large cardboard boxes and placing Organic chicken into the cooler, me on the phone with Trish (there was no chicken, organic or manmade, a week ago), asking if she want the breasts AND the legs (she does), and there are other people squeezing against and leaning over me.  Ride some soup, Weekender, go in where you can stand up and WAIT FOR ANOTHER LULL.  It’s not like getting to Costco at ten am and the parking lot was full, the first person I saw coming out is an old guy (already set as someone older than me), and he has on a MAGA hat, with a bottle of Jim Beam and a package of sausages in his basket (perfect for drunk- watching FOX News reality shows); and I want to say something rude AND clever, but I notice he’s looking at me, a list in my hand, wearing my hand-knitted hippy cap and my layered shirts, the one on the outside featuring Christopher Walken (from a Saturday Night Live skit) dressed as Han Solo, with two balloons above him, one saying ‘fast’ the other ‘ships?’ and I just nod and say, ‘Another great day in America.’  OKAY, Buddy, maybe YOU CAN CATCH A FEW REFORMS.”

I gave up watching before the surfer gave up trying.  “GOOD ON YOU, MATE! (this with my attempt at an Australian accent).  I checked out MSN for some signs of hope, tried to catch up on the World Surf League.  No hope there.  Turned on the TV.  I checked out the various sports channels.  Reruns.  Oh.  Sure.  Incidentally, while similarly clicking through various channels on Friday night, I happened to stick for a moment on big time wrestling.  You know, when there’s no audience, it looks kind of, um, fake.  Add a few thousand screaming fans and it seems real.  Or real-er.  Not making a comparison here between that and a, say, Trump rally, but, evidently, with the virus-proof president unable to hold such events, he has decided to break into programming on a random-but-often basis, just to reassure the citizens of these Unites States of America that he’s still OKAY.  I think he said ‘perfect,’ I’ll stick with ‘okay.’

OH, WAIT, I’m not really political, and certainly, If I was political, I’d be so very middle of the road, but, when the president, trying bigly, allegedly, to unite our country against a world wide pandemic, refers to Washington State’s governor, former presidential candidate, climate activist (and, according to my son Sean, who worked on his original election campaign, ‘kind of bland’) Jay Inslee, as ‘a snake,’ I can’t help but think, that if I was hit with that invective, I’d add it to my title.  The Honorable Governor Jay the Snake Inslee.

BEFORE I GO BACK to working on “Swamis,” I do want to say I hope you’re all stocked-up and surviving this weirdness; self-isolating, hunkering-down, avoiding crowds (and nothing says all that like going to Costco and Walmart on a Saturday).  I suddenly almost regret that Trish and I have already binge-watched “Vera” and “Bosch,” and that we’ve just cancelled Showtime and HBO.  Maybe I could see if SURFLINE is offering a free trial.

I DO KIND OF WONDER what the novice surfer from yesterday said about his session. “It was double overhead on the sets.  Caught a few bombs.  Yes.”  YES, I have been accused, though not at a national level, of some mild form of occasional ‘snaking.’  It’s debatable and over-blown, but, if you want to add it to any nickname for or description of me; FEEL FREE.  It’s still America, even if you’re waiting in a line for toilet paper.  Comrade.costco 2ls

A Couple of Mysteries On and Beyond the Straits of Juan de Fuca

I’ve been working in Port Townsend for the past week or so, hoping some waves come down the Straits of Juan de Fuca and grace the local shoreline. This is frustrating business, and, with windows in which actual waves actually break small, I just missed a couple of times. Tide too high, swell too south, not enough prayer, whatever.

On Tuesday evening, having already checked earlier, I pulled into the parking area in a downpour to see both of the guys out catch a couple of waves each… then, waiting, waiting… nothing. I went to the Penny Saver and talked with a guy I’d seen at the beach. His name (I asked later) is Will, and he’d just moved from the ‘West End,’ knew a few local surfers.

Nothing hitting on Wednesday. Or Thursday.

I did go out on Friday. One other guy, Tim (I ask names but usually forget them)who had cruised around and had been skunked on the Straits, thought he’d found some. He was wrong. I hit a few rocks, did a pull-the-fin-sideslip a couple of times, paddled in, gave myself a 6.5 for the dismount.

On Saturday, a few actual waves were showing, and the crew that would show up at the best-guess time for waves wasn’t around, evidently headed west to the Far Straits or the Farther Coast. Keith Darrock was out, and an electrician (Brett or Brent) who said he and I had ‘shared blood’ on job sites, and the waves were, indeed, slightly larger. Still, they pretty much disappeared after an hour or so, but, later, Keith already dressed, the set of the day came in. Then, waiting, waiting… ready to go back out… nothing.

On Sunday I listened to the Seahawks, did some repairs after the previous week’s rain and wind.

On Monday I was supposed to go west with Stephen Davis. I punked out,  now having to catch up on work missed while hanging around looking for surf, talking surf. The swell was WSW, not conducive, typically, for the Straits.

On Monday night, working late, Trish called me to say the Port Townsend fire department was conducting a search off Port Townsend for someone who had said he was suicidal, and whose car was found in the parking area at the very beach I had (sort of) surfed so recently.

Later Monday night, Stephen Davis sent me this photo. No information. Maybe it’s that spot Steve and I had promised each other we’d hit, a spot I’d heard about for years. You now know as much as I do. Now. Another mystery spot.


It’s Tuesday. I checked the buoys, checked the forecast, checked my hotmail, wrote my friend, Ray Hicks, my longest-term surfing friend (off and on, known him since 6th grade), checked ptleader.com for any update on possible drowning/suicide. Sadly, there was something; a body had been pulled from the water half a mile or so down the beach from the place I’d so recently surfed.  The name hasn’t been released yet. It’s tragic.

Mystery. Mysteries. I’ll find out more about this wave, whether Stephen surfed it; how much I missed. Later. If all is never really fully revealed, frequently enough is.  Meanwhile… meanwhile we wait. Or we go looking.