Ellen Steen

Ellen Steen

Kathy and Kevin Burke came upon a couple of harsh, if not uncommon, examples of nature at work recently. A four-foot shark was flopping about on the beach; seagulls had already started pecking at him. Just a few days after that, they found a longnose lancetfish; it was fast becoming eagle food. Both finds are unusual for our beach. The longnose lancetfish has large eyes, a clue that it lives at a significant depth during daylight, and it comes up closer to the surface at night to prey on salmon and other fish. This fish is also characterized by a long, high dorsal fin and sharply pointed teeth. Death for both fish but sustenance for the birds.

The sun shone brightly, but the air was cold, with fog hanging around in wisps above the blue bay—YES, we’re back salmon fishing! Captain Pete and I got in one scouting trip in April, although the heart of the spring Chinook season is really May-June. We weren’t the lucky ones that day. The honor of the first hatchery springer caught this year in the Memaloose Pool goes to (drumroll) Tony Papadopoli. Tony and his wife, Andrea, are ardent salmon fisherfolk who live in Tillamook. They had just put out from their boat slip on the last Sunday in April when, within three minutes, it was “fish on!” Andrea sent me a picture of the bright silver, 14-pound spring Chinook; it was gorgeous. The Papadopolis shared fresh fillets with a number of friends who don’t fish. Congrats and good eating to the Papadopolis and their buddies!

An interesting note about Tillamook Bay: Just about every day, you’ll see a small motorboat zipping across the water at high speed. That man is paid to scare away the cormorants, as they feed on baby salmon and steelhead. We hope he does a good job!

We noticed a different car sitting in our neighbors’ driveway. Chris Spence describes the low-mileage, late model car as a “pickle-Wilderness-poo-green Subaru Outback.” Pete and I think it looks sharp! Yes, Chris has sold his old diesel truck and bought this comfortable, safe and fuel-efficient SUV. And he is already having pickup withdrawal. Chris may soon be in the market for an older, small-sized Toyota, Nissan, Ford or Chevy 4WD pickup.

We were delighted to welcome our 23-year-old granddaughter Emma Normandy to our beach house a week and a half ago. She works in a daycare center in Northwest Portland and had told us that when she got both of her COVID vaccinations, she would drive right over and give us a big hug. And she did! It had been a year and a half since we had seen her. We had a great weekend with her, exploring tide pools and rockhounding on Cape Meares beach as well as playing canasta back home (she beat us). Hope you, too, are vaccinated and starting to see family and friends again. At the time of this writing, the vaccine center at the Tillamook Fairgrounds is taking walk-ins.

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