What a difference a week makes. Last Sunday, we were just shaking off the last remnants of a torrid heat wave which blasted baking sun down on us for a couple of weeks. Today, we can't even see the sun.
Louise, Paula and I put in for a paddle around Albert Head to Witty's Lagoon and back. The conditions were perfect, nary a breeze or a current, and the fog and low clouds kept the bright sunshine at bay.
Armed with our compasses and GPS, we headed out into the murky morning. As we paddled around the point, we headed to what we call "the shortcut," a channel near the end of the point that can cut a few minutes of paddling off your trip if the tide is high enough.
But we saw something silver lying on the rocks on the right side of the channel -- a baby seal. And then mom poked her head up in the middle of the channel. We decided that discretion was called for, and we abandoned the shortcut and took the long route around.
Around the point at the exit of the shortcut, a number of seals were gathered, maybe a dozen or so, and it was easy to see why. The ocean was teeming of thousands of little tiny fish. Clearly the seals had found a good spot for feeding along this side of the point.
We continued on and soon the fog slowly started to lift.
We quietly paddled around some small islets and rocks as we approached Witty's Lagoon. The entrance to the lagoon has run dry, so there was no hope of getting in, but the real show were all the seals camped over the rocks outside it.
We saw another baby on the rocks. And here's a note for all you landlubbers out there: if you find a baby seal out on the rocks by itself, please don't try to help it. While you make think that its mother has abandoned it, chances are mom has just gone to do a little fishing and the baby is perfectly fine. Yes, the impulse to help what looks like an abandoned animal is strong, but the best help you can give is to walk away and leave it alone. If you try to help it, the seal may end up with the scent of humans upon it and then mom will likely abandon it. Early this year one tourist in the area took what they thought was an abandoned seal off a beach, put it in their car, then called the police. That seal is now being cared for in a shelter and may never return to the wild.
To that tourist I say that it's good that your heart was in the right place, but please use your head instead next time.
There was no getting over the fact that the seals were everywhere today.
Even the eagles were just sitting back and watching the seals.
We try to give the seals a wide clearance, but sometimes it is impossible. As we paddled around the little islands off the mouth of Witty's Lagoon, we could see seals everywhere. There were probably three dozen just in this little area.
I think the eagles were starting to get jealous.
We headed back under some rain clouds which thankfully held on to their moisture and dropped it somewhere else.
As we headed back, we saw a large number of turkey vultures. They aren't unknown in these parts and we have seen them before, but this was the first time we've had a really good look at them. They are enormous, and look even bigger than the bald eagles we often see. They're only in our part of the world during the summer -- just what we need, more tourists!
Finally, we passed one last bob of seals, and our paddle was done. (No, really. A bob of seals. I looked it up. The Internet wouldn't lie.)
Trip length: 9.62 km
YTD: 226.30 km
More pictures are here.
The Google Earth kmz is here.