The family and I spend the bulk of the week camping at Nehalem Bay State Park on the Oregon coast. Mrs. Wormer (when she sees herself called that- I die) have heading to the same area for about fifteen years, long before we were married and well before kids. It's a beautiful area with tons of stuff to do and one of the best places to partake in one of my favorite camping activities at the coast: crabbing.
This year I took the kids out with me for the first time on the crabbing run. Stuffed into lifejackets like bacon-wrapped hors d'oeuvres we climbed into the rental boat and sang old sea shanties ("Gilligan's Island") on the long trip out to the mouth of the bay to drop our rings and seek our crustaceany fortune. We had devised a strategic plan for placement of the rings; with the rings distributed in more-or-less a triangular pattern that the kids dubbed the "Crabmuda Triangle." No crabs would survive the triangle.
Alas, the sea gods weren't with us at the start and it looked like we weren't going to pull up any keepers. Nevertheless, we were determined to have a good time and other critters that inhabit the area were obliging. A huge flock of gulls came by appearing to be attacking a pair of seals until we saw the dark mass of fish they were following. Here's a pic-
(Likes fish - hates gulls)
Then our crabbing luck turned. Usually, when we're crabbing the crabs we keep measure barely big enough to be legal. Not this time. The kids pulled up a lunker. This was the kind of crab you buy at the supermarket that's been caught by professional deep-sea crabbers. This was a frickin' sea monster. This was MEGA CRAB.
(Prefers COLD water baths)
To say me and my three little Gilligans were excited would be an understatement. We nearly tipped the boat over we were so excited. In my fifteen years of recreational crabbing I had never caught anything near this big. The kids couldn't wait to show mom what they'd caught. The Wormers would feast tonight!
After dinner we went to an open-air presentation put on by the park rangers entitled "What does anything have to do with the price of shrimp?" It covered pollution, touched on global warming (the ranger called it "controversial" obviously in deference to the slope-brows in the audience) and the so-called "dead zones" off the Louisiana coast in which no wildlife can live in the oxygen-depreciated environment. Thus - the price of shrimp goes up as shrimpers have to go further out to sea to catch the little buggers.
Here's where reality pimp-slapped me out of my vacation reverie. Yesterday's paper had this article on, appropriately enough, dead zones off the Oregon and Washington coast.
'Dead zones' spread, thicken off NW coast
Oceanic wastelands may be becoming more severe, researchers say
A vast pool of oxygen-starved seawater is killing fish and crabs along the Oregon and Washington coasts, creating an offshore "dead zone" that is poised to spread its lethal fallout even wider.
The eerie phenomenon, which suffocates marine life that cannot move fast enough to escape, has emerged as an unsettling coastal presence in recent years. Dead zones also struck the Oregon coast with varying severity in 2002 and each year since, sometimes leaving fish scattered lifeless across the ocean floor.
Oregon State University researchers suspect the episodes have been more common and severe in the past few years, signaling increasingly unpredictable ocean behavior tied to winds and currents. That matches predictions that global warming trends may cause wilder swings in Earth's climate.
The linked article doesn't show the map highlighting the dead zone but it's spreading North towards Tillamook and Nehalem.
It is not "controversial" that human activity contributes to global warming. I know this. I also believe very strongly that governmental action needs to be taken to slow global warming. I support political leaders that share this view. That's the macro.
The micro is that something I've loved an appreciated for almost half my life and just began to share with my children might be going away soon, perhaps forever. This makes me very, very sad.