While every day in Edmonds is a joy, the special atmosphere around Christmas renders the same visit magical. The shops on Main Street have many wares to sample, and tourists in a rainbow of thick winter coats pass by as you shop. At night the crowds disperse and thousands of Christmas Lights dot the darkened town. The docks are the same, even down to the twinkling lights that adorn the sailboats.

The denizens that call the frigid water home have their own bits of twinkling light, if you look right. Take a flashlight down to the docks at a low tide and scan around in the water. You never know what you’ll find. Tonight, I was treated to a visit from the mascot of Aquacast, a Spotted Ratfish! We’ve covered this species before, but to see one so close was a real treat. Pictures after the break!

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Hello my fellow swimmers, and I apologize for the delay in this post!

The summer has been a warm one here in the Pacific Northwest, and many have taken the time to go and visit the beaches in our lovely land! I have recently joined up with a group of volunteers who’ve taken it upon themselves to educate others and provide manpower for citizen science initiatives that help to improve our understanding and ability to care for the waterways we all know and love. Training was a long, fascinating series of university level classes that involved speaking to experts from across the sound from a myriad of different fields. If you want to give back to the Sailsh Sea, spend a lot of time near the water, and meet a group of amazing people, please come check us out!

Beach Watchers

I will post in followup posts some of the adventures we all get into, so look forward to it! Here’s hoping we get to see you all on the beach.

Keep swimming.


The Puget Sound is such an amazing place to live, and every once in awhile the beauty of our land slaps you in the proverbial face and leaves one breathless. Today, on one of my many walks along the docks this week, I happened to be fortunate enough to catch a lovely shot of the sun shining over our beloved waters.

Copyright 2018 Ryan Crabtree

Sometimes it’s easy to forget what most people love about this place when you spend most of your days focused under the waves. Take a moment to step away from your concerns for a moment to appreciate the beauty of where we live. The more we love the land we inhabit, the more likely we will take steps to save it.

Pick up some trash, ride the bus, shop locally grown produce and decline plastic packaging at every opportunity, so that this same world will be here to pass on to our children when the time comes.


Keep swimming.

Hello, my fellow swimmers.

Night time on the docks is probably my favourite place in the world, and every once in awhile, you see some incredibly strange sights.

Well, I say strange, but only to us. For these Acorn Barnacles, it’s a joyous occasion! Assuming of course that barnacles have a senseĀ  of joy! Seen below, these barnacles are in the process of mating. Take a look below the picture for all the sordid details.

In this shot, we see several barnacles reproductive organs intertwined and seeking a mate. A good portion of species of barnacles are hermaphroditic, which means they possess the reproductive organs of both genders. However, despite having both sets of equipment, they still require another barnacle to mate with. While some barnacles are thought to be capable of self-fertilization, these little guys are not. Once their ultra-long organs have found another barnacle in which to deposit it’s sperm, the penis dissolves away, only to be re-grown the next time mating season comes along.

Low tide always brings along fascinating things to see at the docks and shore, whether it’s a seal hunting in the waters below your feet, or the barnacles enjoying their winter rendezvous. I highly recommend getting out into the cold and poking along the water line. You never know what you’ll see!

Stick around, and look forward to a new podcast episode very soon. We’re going to talk about the enigmatic Brown Catshark and a couple others as we continue exploring the shark species of Puget Sound!

Keep Swimming,

The Bald Fish Guy

Hello my fellow swimmers,

It’s been a lovely cold winter here in Seattle, and as always I’ve enjoyed my visits to the ocean despite the cold. When it’s cold and wet, there are so very few people out that take the time to enjoy the local wildlife, and it opens new opportunities for folks like me! I’ve been visiting the local fuel docks to see the squid hunting in the Harbor of Edmonds, but they have moved on, presumably back into the deep waters of the sound to breed and continue their life cycle.

One subject that has been consistently brought up with people I’ve spoken to is the concept of ocean dead spots. It’s easy to dismiss when you can’t see anything but the glorious vistas the Puget Sound offers on surface, but below, there is a tragedy occurring. As humans grow their food, they put into the soil nitrates and phosphates to help the plants grow. Unfortunately, this fertilizer does not stay in the soil long and is soon washed away by our frequent pacific northwest rains. Once these nutrients reach the ocean, they stay in the shallow waters, where microorganisms grow. Combined with the warmer waters provided by Global Climate Change, the environment is perfect for a massive algae bloom. Finally, these algae eventually die when the food runs out, and the decomposition sucks oxygen out of the water. The result is hundreds of dead fish and other organisms in the most critical areas of Puget Sound, the estuaries.

Linked below is a video made by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. While it is difficult to watch, please do so, and learn why farm runoff is such a problem. The more we know, the more we can do to fight it.

Thanks for reading. Look forward to an episode about Six-gilled sharks soon!

Keep Swimming,

-The Bald Fish Guy


This summer I was very lucky to spend my free time volunteering for the city of Edmonds at the Olympic Beach Ranger Station. My time there was spent educating people about the ocean and it’s various creatures, learning about marine conservation, and exploring the world of intertidal invertebrates. It was a wonderful time and a very good opportunity, and I’m proud to have been able to call the place home for a brief time.

The star of the show was the Touch Tank, a slice of Puget Sound brought indoors and put on display for the public to explore. People of all ages and walks of life came in and were able to ask questions, explore, touch, and otherwise learn about the creatures that share the shorelines with humanity. Watching a child’s eyes light up when they got to hold a hermit crab, or to answer the questions of a curious adult and see their face when understanding hit home was a wonderful reminder of why I do what I do. It was amazingly satisfying to be able to teach people about the ocean world.

The creatures in the tank ranged from anemones, to tube worms, to sea slugs, and sponges. There were two species of fish, multiple types of crabs, and dorids to be seen. The most popular creatures with the children was almost universally the Feather Duster Tube Worm, with it’s long, black and red gills that sway in the current. Among the adults, sponges and anemones were the most interesting, and many a person squealed in surprise when the stinging cells of the Painted Anemones latched onto their fingers.

The tank was maintained daily by a dedicated staff of Ranger Naturalists, of which there were several. Susan, a woman of british origin was passionate about education in a way I’ve never seen. Kylie was the local bird expert, and her gentle nature was wonderful when dealing with children. Karen was a born educator, and her mild manner and factual approach to the job made for a wonderful conversation and many learning opportunities. Hannah was the spunky, energetic youth with bouncing brunette curls and bright smiling eyes, eager to share her passion with any who would listen. And finally there was Rachel, the marine mammal specialist whose calm demeanor and easy wit lured many unsuspecting listeners into a very educational conversation. I’m proud to have worked with them all.

My fellow docents were no-less passionate and caring, and each brought their own strengths to the table. Sondra had a wealth of stories to share, while Jade had youthful exuberance and a fresh outlook. There are too many to name in this production, but as with the rangers, I was honored to be able to work with them all.

My experience with the City of Edmonds and the Olympic Beach Ranger Station was one of the best challenges I’ve ever experienced, and it’s one I hope to repeat next year. So if you’re in Edmonds come Memorial Day, drop in and say hello! There will always be a knowledgeable person there to educate and entertain, along with the myriad creatures that call the place home for the summer. Come and explore, inquire, and learn something about our marine world. You’ll leave with a better knowledge of our environment and an enlightened perspective. I know I did.

-The Bald Fish Guy