Seattle Skyline

This past weekend, I was in Port Townsend, WA for the bi-annual Evo-WIBO meeting. Evo-WIBO is a small, regional gathering of someo of the biggest names in evolutionary biology in the Pacific northwest. Its only a day and a half long and very informal. Yet, because of its size and intimacy, I got more out of this meeting than I did when I presented at the much larger SICB meeting in January. I met and hung out with more people than I would have, which made it a lot of fun. The only downside is that it was so nice out that I felt bad spending the day inside instead of being out exploring a new place.

My talk went well. I presented the results from our selection experiments, but dropped the open field data due to time constraints. Instead, I added the little bit about the dimensionality of the G-matrix that we estimated. My talk was near the end of the day, and I was the first person to mention the G-matrix all day, which I heard got a nod from Steve Arnold.

Fort Worden is a decomissioned WWII fort on the corner of the Olympic Peninsula. There are gun batteries positioned throughout the grounds, but much of the land is forest or beach. The barracks have been converted into a convention center, which is how we got to have our conference at the park. This is great birding habitat, and wouldn’t you know it? I left my binoculars at home. On a clear day, there are spectacular views of the Mt. Baker and the northern Cascades across the water, and from the right vantage point, you can even see Mt. Rainier to the south.

Port Townsend is a nice little town. It’s definitely built for the summer tourist season, but it seems like a place worth coming back to explore. The little downtown area is packed with shops and restaurants. I figured that since I was on the coast, I’d get seafood for dinner, and I had the best crab riggatoni ever. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend much time in town beyond dinner, so perhaps I’ll return when I get a chance to explore the Olympic Peninsula. The next meeting will be in two years, so I’m hoping I’ll be in a position to take some time off while I’m out there. It’s such a long trip for only a day and a half. From Moscow, the trip can be made in 6.5 hours, but it generally takes longer with meal and bathroom breaks. The bulk of the drive isn’t very scenic either. There’s a good two-hour stretch on open, flat land through central Washington that just seems to go on forever. It’s apparently faster to drive down to Tacoma and around the Puget Sound, but the ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island gives a much needed break from driving and a chance to enjoy the Seattle skyline and the mountains. Despite the clear blue skies, it was too cloudy to see the mountains on the way out, but on the way back, Mt. Rainier stood majestically above the landscape. It was an awesome sight.

So to recap, Evo-WIBO is awesome, fun, and a great place to network and meet other people nearby in evolutionary biology.