-----The Passage north from Washington through coastal British Columbia to Southeast Alaska is one of the finest wilderness voyages possible in a small boat. These tales record a few experiences to give a flavor of this marvelous trip to the north.
NORTH COAST CRITTERS
------For us, one of the greatest joys of the liveaboard cruising life is the proximity to nature. Nowhere is this more evident than on a cruise to Alaska along the Northwest coast. Much of the voyage is in the land of the bear and wolf.
------Birdwatchers can be obnoxious. Just when all is laid back and calm in the rafted boats, sundowner time, thoughts gently reviewing the days delights -- when one member jumps up, spilling drinks and poou pous, shouting, "my binocs!Where are my binocs? That looks like a Marbled Murrelet!!"
------"Good Grief, Charlie - shut up!" (or some such words) comes the exasperated reply from the others. "It's just a bird."
------One fed-up (non-birder) friend of ours defines birds (and most wildlife) into two categories: "They're either eaties or tweeties," she says. Well, here are some eaties:
------The variety of bird life along the coastal margin is incredible. Our biologist son says you find the greatest diversity along the "ecotonal boundaries." The edges, in other words -- where two or more environments rub shoulders. The corner of your grassy back yard and the woods; the margin of a field and a stream. Here, cruising coastal country, we are always along the edge of the sea. The sea/air interface yields seals, whales, porpoises, diving birds, fish, and marine invertebrates (shelled or squishy things, for the non-biologist).
------We'll confess -- El and I are birders. We shared a yearlong quest - 500 North American bird species or bust. Well, during that year we were obnoxious. (Some of our friends would add, more than usual). We were fixated on birds.
------We can still be obnoxious relating tales from "quests." For those who have never met one, don't ask an "Appalachian Trail through-hiker" to a dinner party, and for goodness sake, don't ask "what's a through-hiker?" The same can be said about a bird "lister." There goes the genteel discussion over dessert about the latest political shenanigans or coolest movie -- settle down for a boring treatise on the North Carolina balds or the discovery of a Saw-whet Owl.
------Anyway, we enjoy watching wildlife. Awareness of critters adds to our lives what a good cappuccino adds to the urban dweller's. So, if you enjoy the wild things, settle down (maybe with a cappuccino) and enjoy a few of our friends -- we'll try not to bore you with too many names.
Seabirds (Our Closest Neighbors)
See How Close!
Glaucous-winged Gull - Big; Bonapartes Gull - Small
Raven - Big (and BIG bill); Northwest Crow - Smalll (and thinner bill)
Swallows (Tree and Barn)
Our Great Blue Friend
External Ears! Stand on Flippers! -- Sea Lions (NOT seals)
See That External Ear?
Seals (Ear is a Hole, Can't Walk on Flippers)
White (Kermodi or Spirit) Bears ( Photos by Marven Robinson, of Hartley Bay)
------We heard from Kitsoo folks that the Spirit Bear is a reminder for us of the former glacial times -- and so said a biologist friend, explaining that the Kermodi were perhaps better adapted during the recent glacial advance.
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