Surviving Winter in Grayland

The weekend had been nothing if not chaotic; both in wind and rain. Still the last thing I expected was to see a surfer getting rescued by a USCG swimmer.

Winter in Grayland

Every once in a while it’s nice to get outdoors and do a solo trip. What I lose in companionship I feel I make up in selfish pursuits; like spending a few hours working on a time lapse of the sky or walking the wrack line looking for new items for my collections. 

Just such an opportunity came up earlier this winter when Theresa left town to visit one of our kids. The bonus was the fact that it was winter. I was guaranteed to have the campground and beaches basically to myself. Cold temperatures, rain, and wind have a great way of clearing campgrounds.

The weekend had been nothing if not chaotic; both in wind and rain. Still the last thing I expected was to see a surfer getting rescued by a USCG swimmer.
The USGS rescuing a surfer trapped off shore.

Grayland Beach State Park was just the place to take advantage of the solitude. And I wasn’t disappointed. I spent my days searching the wrack line for interesting debris and taking the occasional photograph. The wild weather was really churning the ocean and as a result I was kept busy.

The entire time I rarely had to share the beach with anyone.


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FJ Cruiser
The FJ sporting it's new lights; making winter camping a whole lot easy to find and setup camps in the dark.
The clouds reflect in the twilight glow of Grayland and the Pacific.


The one exception was a bright yellow helicopter that flew overhead and down the surf line late one afternoon. What caught my eye was that it sounded and looked like a USCG Jayhawk 60 but was missing the usual white with orange stripe coloration. 

I assumed it was a private craft transiting up the coast. However, it quickly did a loop and started hovering just south of me. I started heading that way to see what was up when I noticed that there was quite the cluster of vehicles in a tight group in front of me. I released I was watching a rescue in action and sure enough I saw a rescue swimmer being lowered from the helicopter into the chaotic surf.

It wasn’t long before they plucked a surfer out of this malstrom and landed him on the beach where he was attended by EMS. It was at this point I noticed the markings on the helicopter it was indeed a USCG unit sporting an all orange paint job.

Apparently the surfer was fine as he quickly rejoined his party and they started loading up. Another successful mission by our Guardians of the Sea as everyone was going home to family. 

As someone who’s often at sea it’s nice to know the USCG is there for us. As always they have my gratitude and appreciation.

Back to the paint job…has anyone seen this color scheme on one of their helicopters before? Is this something new and if so when did they change? If you know please leave a comment below.


Even though it's winter it's still nice to spend as much time outdoors as possible. The trick is to make a comfortable basecamp.
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