Tonight we counted 30 By-the-wind Sailors (Velella velella) on Salmon Creek Beach. Most were small, about 2 cm long. A few were slightly larger, about 2.5 cm long, and several were smaller, only ~5 mm long.
On 28 October 2014 I posted a picture of a By-the-wind Sailor and wondered if those would be the last sightings of the year. We saw two more on 2 November, but no more live Velella after that.
Today's sightings are the first Velella I've heard of in 2015. Have you been seeing them on local beaches?
Last year most of the Velella stranded during mid-late summer and fall. Who knows if the animals stranding now signify anything about the season to come. Only time will tell!
One more sailor from 8 March 2015:
Conditions at the time: northwest wind at ~15 mph, west swell ~4-4.5 feet, water temperature ~13°C (56°F).