Periodic white noise
August 28, 2010 5:59 PM   Subscribe

What is the fastest and least expensive way to get from Seattle to a beach with reasonable surf (at least 3')?

I'd like to do some field recordings of surf crashing at a beach. Sandy or rocky is fine, as long as there is enough surf to make some noise.

It looks like I can drive out past Aberdeen in about 2.5 to 3 hours. Is there any place faster? Can I get to surf via public transportation?

What time of year is the surf biggest in Washington (state)?
posted by b1tr0t to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can take the ferry from Seattle to Bremerton or Bainbridge Island then take the Kitsap Transit bus to the Poulsbo transfer station then hop on a Jefferson Transit bus which will take you to the Pt Townsend area (there's surf there). From there you can transfer to the Clallam Transit bus which can take you just about anywhere on the north Pacific Coast (Straits of Juan de Fuca) where there is lots of surf--from Pt Angeles to Clallam Bay to Neah Bay, all the way down to Long Beach. It will take hours and hours by public transit to get there. You may be better off renting a car. Surf is usually biggest in the winter.
posted by MsKim at 6:39 PM on August 28, 2010

I've got a car, but if there is a public transit option that isn't much longer then I'd take it.

Good to know that there is surf at Port Townsend. I would have thought that the Straits of Juan de Fuca attenuated the surf significantly, or is it just the Puget Sound area that lacks much surf?
posted by b1tr0t at 6:56 PM on August 28, 2010

Surf Watch for WA state. If you want really noisy surf try to find a pebbly beach, they're the noisiest. Be careful in big surf and be VERY careful hanging about on rocky shores near the surf line, it's easy to get swept off the rocks. I'd recommend you don't even do it at all to be honest.
posted by fshgrl at 10:21 PM on August 28, 2010

That is good advice, fshgrl. I don't plan to be in the water or even very close to it. I shouldn't need to be closer than twenty or thirty feet from the water to get a good recording. Any closer, and my gear is likely to get wet and damaged. Spray is an even bigger problem when waves break on rocks.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:54 PM on August 28, 2010

Twenty or thirty feet is plenty close enough to get hit by a big wave that is waist or even chest deep in big Pacific swell. It doesn't sound like you've spent a lot of time around the ocean, no? At the very, very least don't go alone.

I still think you should go to a pebble beach during low surf and record there instead of messing around with the big stuff. Pebble beaches are much louder and the small rocks make a cool swishing sound you don't get anywhere else. 1-3' waves should be plenty and your stuff will be at less risk to boot.
posted by fshgrl at 11:31 AM on August 29, 2010

When I say rocky, I suspect I'm thinking more along the lines of what you describe as a pebble beach. I have no intention of hanging out on rocks that have a deep vertical drop to the seafloor - those are certainly dangerous, and I've spent enough time by the beach observing waves to stay away from those.

But back to the question at hand - where can I find such beaches that are relatively easily accessible from Seattle?
posted by b1tr0t at 1:20 PM on August 29, 2010

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