Archive for December, 2009

One of the Highest High Tides of the Year

For the next hour, we are watching the rising tide come to a high point this year, projected to be 12.5 feet.  It may, in fact, be a few feet higher than this when combined with storm surge.  On this final day of the year, the moon will be full, and since it is the second time this month (and a rare occurence), it will be a “blue moon.”  The bright light on the bay last night made it easy to see oyster harvesters moving about in the night.

Elizabeth Doyle’s Christmas Card

Elizabeth Doyle's Christmas Card

Elizabeth was a recent guest at the Moby Dick Hotel.  We are thrilled that our solar panels are her Christmas greeting!

Just a few trees down but so much wood

Chopping wood rounds into firewood is a daily occurrence here lately.  The rounds also make nice stools around an outdoor fire.  Although we’ve cleared most of the paths and picked up much debris, our fallen giants are still a sight to see.  The last two weeks have been in the 20’s and 30’s with no rain, but a little drizzle today caught us by surprise.  Frozen pipes are a danger in this old hotel, and we did have a close call, so we’ve been keeping the fire going and some faucets slowly dripping.  Guests that walk up to find a room one of these chilly evenings will be warmly welcomed.

Winter Specials

Stay at the Moby Dick Hotel for NEW YEAR’S EVE and enjoy hors d’oeuvres from 6-8 PM, complimentary for patrons of the bar.  Menu options available to guests by advanced reservation.

We are waving the one-night stay fee for rooms 4,5,7,9 for NEW YEAR’S EVE only.

Stay three nights and enjoy a complimentary dinner on NEW YEAR’S DAY during your stay.  This offer is based on a two person per room occupancy.  Additional guests pay regular price.  Guests must let us know in advance if you will be dining with us.  Dinners are open to the public by advanced reservation and payment – $35 for New Year’s day.  Seating is at 5 PM and will be served family style.  Price does not include tax, gratuity, or corkage fee.

Fishermen Say Carbon Dioxide Having ‘Really Scary’ Ocean Effect

By Daniel Whitten

Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) — Jeremy Brown, a fisherman from the Pacific Northwest, is pulling things from the ocean he says are so disturbing that he came to Washington to warn U.S. lawmakers about it.

“This is not overfishing, this is something far larger,” said Brown, one of 10 people who met with lawmakers and legislative aides this week on behalf of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, a San Francisco-based group that advises seafood producers on fishing practices.

The group said the ocean is becoming more acidic because of carbon-dioxide emissions that are damaging coral reefs, decimating populations of tiny animals at the base of the food chain and eating away at the shells of clams, mussels and oysters.

“Every so often we snag a piece of coral on the gear,” Brown, of Bellingham, Washington, said in an interview. “It doesn’t look healthy, the color has gone out of it. The evidence is that we have instabilities in the system, and this last year was really scary.”

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of a United Nations scientific advisory panel on climate change, highlighted ocean acidification this week in remarks at the global conference on greenhouse gases in Copenhagen.

World trade in seafood products is valued at $100 billion and feeds 3 billion people, according to the fisheries partnership. That production is threatened by rising acidity, caused by the ocean absorbing more carbon from the atmosphere, and by the effects of agricultural runoff, said Mark Green, a professor of oceanography at St. Joseph’s College of Maine in Portland, who accompanied the fishermen on the trip.

The group met with Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and aides to other coastal senators during a three-day visit.

Small snails and other tiny animals at the base of the food chain are disappearing at alarming rates, jeopardizing the health of pink salmon and other fish that feed on them, said Green, who lives on Maine’s Peaks Island.

“What we see with ocean acidification, we are seeing on time scales that are far more rapid than any sort of changes we are seeing on terrestrial systems,” said Green. “People who weren’t able to agree with climate-change science will have an easier time accepting the science on acidification.”

The U.K.-based Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership reported in April that acidification has increased 30 percent since the start of the industrial revolution, a rate faster than at any time in the last 65 million years

More acidic water eats away at clam, oyster and mussel shells, said Mark Wiegardt, who raises shellfish larvae in Tillamook, Oregon, and sells them to commercial harvesters.

“The shells stop growing and the acidic water literally dissolves the calcium of the shells,” Wiegardt said.

Wiegardt said he has seen an 80 percent cut in production in 2008 and a 40 to 50 percent drop this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Whitten in Washington at

View full article: 

Genetic engineering in organic agriculture

Check out Michael Olson’s Food Chain Radio this Saturday, December 12th for a conversation with Pamela Ronald, Director, UC Davis Plant Genetics, and Raoul Adamchak, Instructor of Organic Agriculture, UC Davis Student Farm.  They are asked “should we allow genetic engineering into organic agriculture?” in show #663.  Recent shows are available for download.

Maryland’s oyster beds are suffering

As oyster numbers fall, there are less to filter the water, and it is harder to establish new larvae in barren areas.  Maryland’s plan, presented by Governor O’Malley, would dramatically expand oyster sanctuary to 8,640 protected acres with a continued increase as the long-term plan.  This Washington Post article says the sanctuary might not affect the local food industry very much, as most oysters eaten on the Chesapeake Bay are imported.  However, the days of the free roaming oystermen might be in decline, as restricted areas may encourage folks to farm oysters, rather than hunt for them.

Frosty day in the garden

Today, we stapled plastic over our garden beds to keep tender plants free of frost.  We should be able to keep harvesting carrots, potatoes, fava beans, chard, kale, and other greens through the winter.  Apple leaves made a great mulch for the garlic.  There are plenty of limbs and fallen trees to saw up and split around the property.  We started the fire in the hotel early this morning and are burning through the rotten wood.

A recent guest left this great review of the Moby Dick on

“A peaceful and scenic setting away from the fast pace world.”

I spent a pleasant and relaxing three days at the Moby Dick Hotel while visiting the Long Beach Peninsula during the Thanksgiving Holiday. A quite rural setting in a wooded environment along with a view of Wilapa Bay made for a relaxing time. After an inspiring sunrise over the bay, a breakfast of eggs from the chicken coop and hash browns made with potatoes freshly dug from the organic garden out front gets the day started right. At night, a cosy fire in the down stairs den area makes a great way to finish the day.

Plenty of yard work to be done

Our large ornamental grasses have been cut back so that they will grow back nicely after winter.  We bundled up the bamboo-like stalks with jute twine, making a decorative addition to our fence, as well as a wind break for the court yard.