|This large cedar that washed out of the Sooke River stayed hung up on a sandbar before salvagers came, |
cut off the root end, and hauled the log away.
After having one of the driest fall seasons on record on south Vancouver Island, we recently experienced a record-breaking rainfall in a 24 hour period. When winter rainfalls coincide with seasonal high tides, the flotsam factor in my front yard increases dramatically.
It is exciting to see huge logs and whole trees float by during these winter freshets. Some of the debris is dislodged from area beaches by extra high tides, but much of the tree debris is sourced up the Sooke River which enters the harbour along Billing Spit's western shore.
Most of the tree debris gets washed out to sea, or gets hung up on a new beach somewhere. Some middle sized logs get hung up on sandbars in the harbour and stay until the next high tide or heavy rainfall.
Some of the larger logs stay around for years, perhaps decades. When these get stranded on a sandbar in the harbour they are heavily used by wildlife. Eagles perch and eat their prey on the large debris. River otters also love to play on the tree debris in the harbour.
|This large Douglas fir log has been on the beach for a decade or more. Only the most extreme|
tides and weather will move it off the beach.
Really big logs that get hung up on the sandbars will bring out the salvagers, or beachcombers as they are also called. Using giant chain saws, they remove the root ends of large trees, and use small boats to float the lucrative wood to where they can transfer it to land for milling.