Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Voyage of Discovery

Last Saturday, we had a long slack tide, a perfect time to make a run for Discovery Island.
We put in at Willows Beach and headed out: Dennis, Bernie, Louise, Paula and myself.
Heading Out

For many of us, we were heading into uncharted waters.
Well, not literally uncharted waters. It's not like we were going off into the Bermuda Triangle. There's lots of charts for these waters. I just don't recall anyone bringing one. My point is that only Paula and Bernie had gone to Discovery before. The rest of us were Discovery Island newbies.
Anyway, the plan was to put in at Willows, scoot by Mary Tod Island, then head out to the Chain Islands, then turn and head for Discovery Island, putting at the campground at the far side of the island.

We reached Great Chain Island, and I was dumbfounded by the amount of seabirds around. The island was covered in seagulls.

The seagulls were making a racket because eagles were around and landing on the island, which was making the mama seagulls really nervous.
Cleared for Landing

The eagles were not popular. Anytime they got near the island, the seagulls went after them.

And if an eagle landed, they were often harassed and attacked.
Eagle and Seagull

The geese weren't particularly impressed.

The seals didn't seem thrilled, either.

There were eagles everywhere. Bernie figures he counted at least a dozen without really trying.

Birds were flying around all over the place. A seagull flew so close to me that I felt the wind brush my face. I was certain that I wasn't going to get any good pictures because there was so much happening that I didn't know where to point my camera. Eagles were flying and landing, seagulls by the dozens were flying and landing. Amazingly, none of us paddlers got crapped on.
After watching the show for a while, we pressed on through the rest of the Chain Islands....
The Chain Islands

...then headed into open water to cross...

... to Discovery Island...

...where we put in on the beach for a stretch and a nibble.

We had lunch at a little park at the camping area.

Bernie and I hiked up to the lighthouse. It's automated now, but the lightkeeper's house and outbuildings are still there and in pretty good shpe. It wouldn't take much to make them livable again.

Bernie checks out this position marker. We know it's a position marker because that's all it says on it: "Position Marker."

Bernie even found an old set of his dentures. Or a salmon jaw.

Another group of paddlers joined us and it became a crowded parking lot on the beach.
Discovery Island

Then us first-timers had to pose for our obligatory we-conquered-Discovery-Island pictures. First myself....

...then Dennis...

...and Louise.

It was time to head back.

We returned via the Chain Islands. The seagulls and birds were still having a go at each other.
We discovered that the eagles were catching fish and dropping them on the rocks to eat them. The seagulls were worried that the eagles were going to poach their eggs or any baby seagulls that were about (which was probably happening - a little appy before the main course never hurt anyone). And the eagles were fighting each other for the dropped fish as well. The eagle in the picture below had just had a run-in with another eagle before he settled in to enjoy his fish. I did not get a picture, alas.

My photos are here.

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