Wednesday, January 16, 2008


On Tuesday the 15th while Bernie went out to Discovery, I worked for a while and checked if Alison could join me. Since she ended up busy, I left my Eliza tucked away and picked up my inflatable Dragonfly.
It's so nice to live where the beach is a short portage away!
I met Bernie at Sheep Cove in Cadboro Bay as he was returning. He swapped paddles with me, to let me try the Greenland paddle for a half-hour. While he was returning to shore, swearing at my paddle (he doesn't like the wide, assymmetric blade), I went out to Flower Island and drifted for a while.
And got lucky.
The otter family that scampers about that part of the bay came out to play. I heard a little pfoof sound and luckily was looking in the right direction. Little sleek heads and tails were bobbing in the channel by Flower Island. I hadn't moved for about five minutes, so they didn't really notice me for a while. Then a little head popped up higher and looked at me, and another and another, and plunk! they all ducked under.
They popped up again about thirty feet away, and I moved only my eyes to watch them in my peripheral vision. Otters and seals and even herons seem to be more alarmed by my gaze when I look at them face-on. But peeking at them out of one eye... that seems to frighten them less. Guess they know what a predator face looks like.
It looks like there are still seven otters in that tangle. Hey, a tangle of otters sounds like a good collective noun. Back in July there were two big otters with three little ones each, near as I could tell, and in September there were a total of seven. Nice to see they haven't lost any more of their group so far this winter.
After a few minutes the otters noticed I was still watching, and they ducked down again. One came up and blew a loud breath, pfoof, in my direction. I took that as a cue to head out, and got back to the beach as Bernie walked back from the Beach House to meet me. He still hates wide, assymetric blades on paddles. But I want him to make me a Greenland paddle so I can use it from time to time. It's quiet enough to sneak away from otters without disturbing them.

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