We’re still on the west coast of Vancouver Island, still enjoying the hundreds of islands, islets and coves in Barkley Sound, still catching and eating fish and crabs, and still having fun. Jack the sea doglet is still with us. His floppy little heart is still beating out a little reggae rhythm as he rearranges the benthic fauna from the dinghy and occasionally falls in, to hoots of laughter all around. Winds have been, shall we say, “active” with gale warnings nearly every day for 35-plus knots from the west and northwest, which were the directions we had intended to sail further, but with Jack’s heart problems and our original goal of forgetting what day it is anyway, WHO CARES! IT’S SUMMER! The weather’s great! More on all that later. It’s time for a few tall tales we thought you might enjoy.
Here’s where it gets downright weird. I have never heard of this, so you raptor biologist friends out there please weigh in with a comment. Rick said he watched these eagles land on dead spruce branches high up in the tree, of a size that could hold their weight if they landed on the thick part near the tree trunk. (Eagles are not lightweights.) They then edged out and out along the branch until it bent down, then kept edging out until the branch broke. Of course, this initiated a fall. Still holding the broken branch in their talons, they’d fall about 10-15 feet until they could get airborne, and fly the branch to the nest. A neat trick. Eagles generally can’t get airborne from the ground with something that heavy, so they’ve evidently learned to use altitude and standing deadwood.
Not long after that we heard a scream in the woods. It sounded like someone at a party who’s over their limit and who has just seen a rodent. Three crows came booking out of the woods—who could blame them. Then, the culprit, possibly the Mick Jagger of the corvid world, came out and sat on a branch over the beach, issuing that hysterical party scream and enjoying every minute of it. We never knew crows could make noise like that. Evidently, neither did the other crows.
“Man, I’m lost!” said the kayaker. “I forgot to bring my compass!” A nice conversation ensued, in which Karen gave directions to this slightly lost, lone native kayaker wearing a Haida-like hat who showed up five minutes after Karen raised the Haida flag. We kid you not.
While we were at Wouwer, we noticed a funny thing. The surf sounded a lot like highway traffic. Have you ever lived near a highway and pretended, just to soothe your nerves, that the sound of the traffic was surf or river rapids? And then, when it’s really surf you hear, your brain says dang it, we anchored too near a highway. Obviously, we have not been out long enough.
Then the Large Important Yacht lumbered around the anchorage looking for a place to drop a small piece of metal on its bow, which resembled a miniature anchor. By now the praying was almost audible throughout the bay. The next thing we heard was a loud DROP IT! from a PA system. It echoed Godlike across the water. Jack, who was chewing a snack, dropped it. The tiny little anchor thingy on the bow plunged into the water (50 feet deep) and the crew let out about 30 feet of chain. IS IT ON THE BOTTOM? boomed Captain God from his tower. The crew shrugged. The boat went into reverse. Further announcements included, IS IT DRAGGING? Nods. LET OUT ANOTHER 50 FEET. Suddenly, still reversing through the anchorage at four knots, Captain God said, “CHICKEN?” which puzzled us. Hey! Who ya callin’ a chicken, you jerk, we thought. Then we realized he meant “Sticking?” (Is the anchor sticking.) He blamed the bottom for being too muddy, but before the jet skis could be lowered we crammed on all sail to get the heck out of there. We heard him announce LET OUT 300 FEET OF CHAIN which created quite a stir among the boats behind him.