Saturday, January 01, 2011

A Happy New Year

It was great to get out on the water this morning. That tickling cough woke me several times last night. Bernie's cough was much worse than that. This morning he sensibly changed his plans for a swim -- he'll go another day soon, when the cold immersion is less likely to turn his cough into pneumonia. The decision was understood by John and Louise, who had brought cameras and John's kayak. They'll have to immortalize the Polar Bear swim another day. Louise had her camera, but no boat, as she has a cough of her own.
Instead, John in his 18' Delta and I in my 8'4" Dragonfly went out on the water for an hour. There is a considerable discrepancy between these boats for cruising speed. His kayak is, after all, nearly ten feet longer than mine. I set out quickly while he was still arranging gear on his deck. Even though I was nearly at the Buddha before he was launched, he caught up with me at Sheep's Cove. Twice the speed is twice the speed.
The mismatched boats made for a relaxing paddle for John. He set a moderate pace, and by keeping the cadence of my paddle strokes about twice his rate, I was able to keep up most of the time.
This was another two-volcano day! Mt Rainier was visible in the low-angled sunlight, but fading as the sun rose higher. And when we got out past Flower, there was Mt Baker as well. John went out near Jemmy Jones for a moment to feel the current and breeze, while I hung around Evans Rock.
Not wanting to surprise any visiting elephant seals, I sang to make some noise, but must have been more quiet than I thought. When John came towards Evans Rock, I asked him to get his camera ready. There were two otters sitting on the other side of Evans Rock!
He actually saw at least three otters, and seemed to get several photos. The one problem with taking photos of otters and other seashore animals is that the static photo usually just shows a dark vague shape. It's the movement of that shape that makes watching otters so much fun. They bring their paws to their mouths, or flick their tails, and every movement is quick and smooth enough to make a housecat look clumsy.
We went wide around Evans Rock, and the otters slipped into the water between our kayaks. I think they knew we were there -- big, noisy, bright-coloured things -- but they didn't disappear just because we came past.
At any rate, it was a quick hour on the water, with a birdwatcher's collection of waterbirds of various kinds speckling the water and shoreline around us. May the new year be as good as today -- a good paddle outing, with Mike Jackson and his friend launching as we landed, and the anticipation of improving health for those of us with colds.

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