Westport always surprises me. This sleepy little town on Washington's coast comes alive with tourist for a few weeks each summer but otherwise the trinket shops are shuttered and the only activity are a few fishermen and the lively marine life searching for tidbits in the sheltered basin.
Every visit I see something new. Spend some time on the viewing platform over the north jetty and keep an eye on the rocks and boulders. You will usually see a raccoon or two wandering around looking for a handout.
The California Sea Lions are always entertaining. During crab season, people will come down to the docks with their pots, secure a piece of raw chicken in the basket, lower the pot into the depths of the harbor and wait. Most of the time they don’t wait long because a pesky sea lion will reach in and grab the bait, then surface and splash his tail to let you know he robbed your pot.
The casual observer usually jumps back in surprise with the unexpected splash. I’m sure a few people have lost their footing and gone into the drink. If you wander down to the far end of the floats where the fishing boats are moored you will find the sea lions piled high on the docks. A great place for photos but after a few minutes of watching them floundering over each other, barking and playing you’ll need to move on because their acrid smell is overpowering.
Lots of birds in the basin, especially in October when the salmon return. Each year the locals release thousands of Coho fry into the basin and after 3-4 years they return and fishermen flock to the docks to try their luck. Brown Pelicans make an appearance in late July and stay through October. They normally reside in Southern California and down the coast through Central and South America.
Sensitive to chemical pollutants absorbed from the fish they eat, Pelicans were on the endangered species list until 2009. Pollutants affect calcium metabolism causing thin-shelled eggs that break easily. With the ban of DDT and other harmful pesticides these beautiful birds, like many others, are making a comeback.
Gulls, Grebes, Common Loons, Cormorants and Surf Scooters are just some of the birds you will spy in and around Westport. When the tides are right, wander out to the state park and watch the surfers catching waves. Stay a night or two and linger over beautiful sunsets or take a long walk along the beach as the fog rolls in. Whatever the weather the sea is sure to soothe your soul.