We woke this morning to light wind and misty rain; the clouds were hanging over the land and we couldn’t see far. The tide was low so we got suited up and rowed over to where Ron had seen the sandhill cranes yesterday morning. They were down on the lagoon but moving toward their nest when, using our best stealth strategies, we approached and peered through our binoculars. They are very well camouflaged, and that, combined with the moisture in the air, made them difficult to see.
We decided to move across Kitkatla Inlet for a change of scene and to run the engine to charge the batteries. It doesn’t look like we’re going to get much from the solar panels today! Ron dropped the hook in Billy Bay and launched the kayaks for a paddle up the Billy Creek estuary. We put on our waterproof jackets and big brimmed hats in anticipation of the rain we knew was coming. The tide was still low but rising, and the creek was running out of the estuary. We kept grounding the kayaks, waiting a few minutes and then getting lifted over the rocks. I heard a peeping noise during one of those breaks in our progress and looked around—there was a group of sandpipers not much more than a paddle’s length away. They were busy pecking at the waterline and talking to one another and not paying me any attention at all. A pair of mule deer came down the estuary towards us, finally noticed our presence, stopped for a good look, then bounded away across the mud flats and into the forest. There was evidence of long abandoned human activity along both shorelines. Rick says he knew someone who lived there and had some method rigged up of heating the water for his waterbed.
There was another cove just to the east of Billy Bay that the author of one the guide books we’re consulting said he preferred because it was “more intimate.” We decided to go around and check it out and dropped anchor again for the night. It was peaceful and wind free—a lovely change from the last few days. A common loon was catching fish just ahead of Snug and a gang of river otters swam across her bow and scrambled up the shore. When we entered this cove, I couldn’t see the eagle—there’s always an eagle—and was missing the family we had been watching off Phoenix Creek. No sooner had I mentioned the lack of eagle company, than one called and announced that he was over here. I just hadn’t been looking close enough.