Not Your Typical Day at the Beach

In desperation for more beach glass to fill my wedding favors, I convinced one of my bridesmaids to take a trip with me and Gretel out to Glass Beach. No one had accompanied us out to the beach for well over a year. We always made the trek alone.

I grew up in this area and have been to this beach many times over the last 20 years. This time we saw some things that I had never seen before.

Soon after we left the parking lot a new sign appeared. This sign, in any fashion, has never been on this beach before. I have never seen any naked people here either so the sign implies a new thing.



























As we were walking down the beach we heard a muffled sound like people talking. There was no one on the beach with us though so we looked out into the water. We spotted a canoe.

When we looked closer we could tell that it was a Native American dugout canoe. Although we could not hear them clearly at this point, we assumed that the sound we heard was chanting.

The local Jamestown S’Klallam tribe has some authentic dugout canoes that the use for ceremonial purposes. I had not heard anything about them using them (if they do it is often mentioned on the news) and have no idea where this canoe was headed. I had never seen one of these canoes in person – not at any ceremony and especially not randomly while walking the beach. THIS was very special indeed.

We kept walking and suddenly another canoe appeared……then another and another and another. There was a steady stream of them. At our final count there were somewhere about 15. As their numbers increased, some of them came closer to shore and were easier to hear. We could then clearly hear them singing a Native American chant and beating drums.

They were still going by when we stopped in one area to hunt for glass.  We were out there for about an hour and the whole time we were “meditating” on beach glass to Native American chants. It was so surreal.

The add to my list of “first times”, we sadly didn’t find much blue glass that day. What we did find was more yellow and red pieces than I had ever found before. Unfortunately, those are not my wedding colors and I will have to return to the beach at least one more time before the wedding.

Gretel and I enjoyed having someone else to walk with. I know at least for me the walk felt like it was faster. It was certainly more enjoyable. It was nice to have a witness for all of these first too so people didn’t think I was crazy :)

I was still curious about the Native American canoes when I got back to so I did some research. The best I can tell, we saw part of the 2012 paddle to Squaxin Island. The website says “many nations and people are participating in this event”. As it turns out, we may have had the privilege of seeing a tribe from further north on their journey…which would make our sighting extra, extra special.


  1. Linda Klein says

    Me, me, me…I wanna go! When is the wedding again? how many weekends are there? I can take the Pt Townsend ferry & meet you. Dieter is a horrible car rider so I might have to bring Kia instead.

    • AdventureJess says

      That would be awesome! It’s tricky because you have to hit a low tide though….and I am busy most weekend. Are you only available on weekends? The tides will be low enough on Monday 7/30 through Thursday 8/2 and I can go on those days. We would have to start walking between 7 and 8 am and I would need to leave Port Townsend by about 130 pm. That gives us enough time to walk down there briskly and spend about an hour picking up glass.

    • AdventureJess says

      I checked and those are the last low tides before my wedding on August 10th anyway. We could always go in September though just for fun.

    • AdventureJess says

      It was worth it…although I am worried now I won’t have enough glass for my wedding gifts. There a 4 more days of low tide before my wedding so I plan on making another trip. I sure hope I can find someone to go because it makes it way more pleasant.

    • AdventureJess says

      Not really. Chester HATES the water. Gretel doesn’t mind. When we hike, Chester will calculate a leap across the stream for several minutes before he jumps (or he expects us to carry him over – which we do sometimes). If Gretel doesn’t think she can easily clear it in one jump, she will jump right in the middle of it and back out. At the beach she loves birds. She will get her feet wet in the water to get closer to them. I haven’t tried to get her to swim though. I don’t think that she LOVES water but she doesn’t seem to mind. Maybe I should try the swimming thing :)

  2. says

    That is cool. I bet your friend was glad she came. You should ask her next time you go. When you first said you were going to the beach with a bridesmaid, I thought you meant Gretel 😀

    • AdventureJess says

      She is a marine scientist so I had to keep her focused to even get her out there past all the rocks and tide pools. Ha, ha. We also saw an otter way out on a rock. We couldn’t get a picture of him so I didn’t mention it here….but it was another first!

  3. Jen says

    At least they weren’t naked canoers! 😉

    I’m super jealous of your glass beach…I don’t much find glass when I go to the beach anymore. On one hand, it’s a good thing, because it means that the ocean is less polluted by garbage dumping (at least where I go). On the other hand, finding beach glass is such a wonderful and somewhat mystical thing. I have a (pale) blue piece that’s just about the entire bottom of a bottle! I do like the dark cobalt blue glass best, though.
    Jen recently posted…Dog Bloggers Unite for RescueMy Profile

    • AdventureJess says

      The pieces I used to find 10 years ago were pale blue and about the size of a 50 cent piece. Now you are very lucky when you find one the size of a quarter. The most common colors to find there are clear, green and light blue.

    • AdventureJess says

      There used to be a garbage dump near one of the cliffs. Eventually the water eroded into it causing all of the trash to fall in the water. The dump is all gone now. Has been for years. That is one reason it is harder to find glass out there – no more supply.

  4. Elizabeth says

    Wow, very cool. What a great site to witness. I have lived in WA pretty much all of my life and I have never seen a Native American ritualistic ceremony like that before. Nor have I ever been to one of the ‘glass’ beaches in WA either. Apparently there are two glass beaches surrounding my current city – so I will have to let you know (when I go) if I find anything :)
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  5. says

    Hey Gretel, Hey Chester, Jet here.

    Gretel what an enchanting (get it? BOL) visit to the beach… sounds pawesome. Sorry Mom didn’t find the quantity or color of beach glass she needed. (creative idea btw)

    Interesting sign change… glad you encountered cool canoes instead!
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    • AdventureJess says

      It’s always a good time. I love a good hike on the beach and Gretel loves all of the birds.

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