Saturday, March 19, 2016

Wanderings at the Locks

 I visited the Ballard locks recently where I watched the sea birds and all the water swishing and swirling around. I like the locks. The saltwater saturated air is refreshing! The sounds of gulls and rushing water is a perfect afternoon soundtrack. The beautiful water tumbling around is hypnotizing.

 The Ballard Locks opened in 1917 as a way to let boats pass from the freshwater lake to the saltwater sound without the differing waters mingling. (A) It does not surprise me that the locks were created in 1917. There is something delightfully old fashioned about the locks as a whole from the architecture of the visitor center and other buildings to the botanical garden that surrounds the locks.

I saw this cormorant cruising through the water. He dove under the water and disappeared for a short while. He was looking for fish, or to escape my prying gaze. Cormorants are neat birds. Some of them can dive up to 300 feet! (B)

 I also spotted this great blue heron. He was staring off toward the direction of the coast, contemplating life. Great blue herons look dainty and delicate when they are perched on a rock by the shore. But when they are flying, they have a six foot wingspan and look mighty. (C)

 I guess it is not boat season yet. I didn't see any boats patiently awaiting the rising of the water and the opening of the gate. I have come here during the summer where it is boat after boat waiting to be let through. The boats all want to at least temporarily leave the safety and staleness of the murky lake for the excitement and adventure of salt water.

There is a lot to see at the locks, even if you are just looking down. There are rocks and shelled creatures and moss and foamy water. 

Once when I went to the locks I saw several blubbery seals waiting by the fish ladder for an easy meal. Now, every time I go to the locks, I hope to see a seal, but with no luck. So far, spotting seals at the locks was reserved for that one special day. I adore seals! With their big kind eyes and their portly physiques, they have a look of being wise and silly at the same time.  

       A. "Ballard Locks." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Feb. 2016. Web. 19 Mar. 2016. <
       B. Kraft, Carolyn. "Ocean Wild Things." Ocean Wild Things. Ocean Wild Things, 11 Oct. 2012. Web. 19 Mar. 2016. <>
       C. "Great Blue Heron." Facts. Washington Nature Mapping Program, n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2016. <>


Laurie Duncan said...

Everything is so green and pretty! Looks like a great place to see nature! :)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Ah the Pacific Northwest...gotta see it someday for sure :) good to see you. I was not sure if you still blogged!