Thursday, April 14, 2011


Yes, it's spring. There are flowers everywhere, not just snowdrops. Many of the blooming cherry trees are letting their petals fall. So why, when I was out on the water this morning, was it so cold? I had to wear a sweater over my shortie wetsuit. As I paddled past the little rock garden and out along the shore, I had to pull on my cold weather cap, a neoprene cap lined with thin fleece. Most of the time it's clipped inside my PFD, but at times like this morning's cold outing, it's wonderful to be able to pull it on. Sure, it makes my head look like a black egg. Or if I don't buckle the strap and the cap poufs up on top of my head (like most toques do, ya hoser) then I look like Bob or Doug McKenzie. Nevertheless, I prize my cold weather cap for (duh) cold weather. Besides, maybe the otters and seals think it makes me look more like them... I can't count on that idea, though. The first otter I saw this morning as I came around a little jut of land was diving into the water. This one I smelled before I saw it: a distinct scent of "used fish" common along this shore when the otters have climbing around on the rocks. The scent is distinct from that of cormorant droppings, which can also be described as "used fish" but with a definite note of "bird." The seal I saw took a moment to stare at me before dipping underwater, out in the channel between Flower Island and the main shore. I think this seal is the same one that I've often seen around here. She's been away for a couple of months, near as I can tell. It'll be neat to watch for her over the spring. Maybe this June she'll have another pup. By the time I saw Mama Seal, the stiff breeze blowing in off the strait had brought clouds to cover the sky. The chill wasn't so bad when I turned my back to the breeze and let the little waves push my inflatable back towards the beach. I found out a few minutes later, back at the Beach House, that there was snow this morning on the Malahat. Yep, it was April, but it was as cool this morning as some days we had in February.

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