Day 3. Began with another kayaking trip. Good morning exercise in exquisite light surrounded by mountain forests mirrored in glass-calm water. I saw a Red-necked Grebe and a female Common Merganser ferrying ducklings on her back. We weighed anchor and soon found a Humpback Whale whom we stayed with for several hours as it rose and blew and fluked and dove at various angles to the glint of morning sun. The whale was merely the cherry atop a morning perfect with warmth, still water, and still air, wreathed by rocky shores and islets, forested mountains, and snow-capped peaks bursting from low curtains of fog.
My lens kept looking away from the whale to steal glimpses of a sky and coast in close flirtation and surface patterns made by yellow rockweed drifting on a blue mirror, and the glistening, ball-like floats and whips of bull kelp.
In the afternoon we visited some rocks covered with Steller Sea Lions. One large bull down near the waterline had a gaping wound, probably from fighting for mates. Same old story.
Here we also saw some Black Turnstones and Pelagic Cormorants near the same rocks.
Another highlight was a Peregrine Falcon atop a large rock. Even just sitting, Peregrines never fail to simply thrill me, and we watched it fly into the distance.
Later we went ashore on a narrow sandy beach on a nameless island. Nameless islands are one of the reasons we’re here. We immediately ran into tracks of a Mountain Lion in the sand. We did some poking around among the copious clam shells, crab shells, and surprisingly large barnacles and moon snails that grow here. We located a Hermit Thrush; the dark, large Song Sparrows of the West Coast; and a brood of just-fledged Townsend’s Warblers frantically chasing their superb-looking yellow and black father for food.
We anchored for the night among a fantasy maze of tree-topped islelets.