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Barbara Spring

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Kayaking Mats Mats Bay
By Barbara Spring
Sunday, April 23, 2006

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Eagles and seals up close and personal


I stand on a high cliff overlooking the sea scanning the


water for a spouting whale or seals or otters. Really, all I


see are some diving ducks that disappear underwater and then


pop up again in their cork like way near the kelp beds.


I would like to see a seal.


With this in mind, I talk a friend into a kayak trip.


"But I've never kayaked before," she says.


"Neither have I," I said, "but I've seen the kayaks out


in the water and they look sturdy enough."


After a few minutes, "O.K., I'll go."


"Great!" I say.


Our half day trip looks iffy. Black clouds boil


overhead as we drive to Mats Mats Bay to rendezvous with our


kayak guide. Then the sun peeks out. Clouds. Sun. Clouds.


Sun. Won't the weather stay nice just for a little while?


Our kayak guide Lonnie shows us how to paddle with a


figure eight motion, then adjusts the foot pedals for me that


control the rudder. In a two person kayak the person in


front, my friend Jan, sets the pace. I imitate her paddling


motion while trying to get the hang of steering with the foot


pedals. The sun pops out and a young eagle stoops to gather


up a fish in its talons quite near our kayak.


"It's a young one," says Lonnie. "Its feathers haven't


turned white yet on its head and tail." We watch the


adolescent eagle as it sits on the top of a tall pine. There


are great blue herons sitting on the tops of other tall


pines as still as lawn ornaments. We head out the channel


into the big water, past ancient rocks. Paddling along the


shore we see the young eagle's parents sitting in a tree


overlooking the water. These eagles have the white heads and


white tail feathers, and they cock their heads as I whistle


to them. They don't seem to mind our presence at all and I'm


thrilled with theirs.


We paddle the smooth waters hoping to get a glimpse of


seals. Lonnie points out a rock where the seals usually sun


themselves, but he cautions us that we must not approach too


closely since the seals are having their pups now in July and


we don't want to harrass them.


"Seals are wary of kayaks, and avoid them," he tells


us.


I think of their long association with Inuit kayaks


and this does not surprise me.


Just then I see a round head in the water not far from


us. It disappears as mysteriously as it appeared. But now we


must head back for the afternoon light won't last too much


longer.


My friend Jan is enthusiastic about kayaking. "I'll


have to get my husband and our friends to do this," she says.


Although Jan lives in nearby Seattle, she had never tried


kayaking before.


We didn't notice it at first, but then we see a young


seal following our kayaks up the channel and into Mats Mats


Bay. It first goes to a little boy and his mother in one of


the kayaks. Then it comes over to Jan and me, looking


curiously at us, rolling, showing off its flippers as it lies


on its back, diving, reappearing. We can see its markings:


like a dapple gray horse. Our seal pops up near Lonnie who


is just as enchanted by its visit as we are.


"This has never happened before," Lonnie says. "I think


it's about a year old."


Jan and I are again visited by the seal, as frolicksome


as a wide eyed puppy. The roar of a motorboat frightens it


away finally, and we head for shore. I wished to see a seal.


Sometimes wishes come true .


 


 

       Web Site: The Dynamic Great Lakes

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Books by
Barbara Spring



Between Sweetwater and Sand

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The Wilderness Within

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The Dynamic Great Lakes

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Sophia's Lost and Found: Poems of Above and Below

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Survival Instincts by Herman Yenwo

The Bald Eagle which is the United States National Symbol, is a beautiful bird. They live mostly on tree tops (close to water) where they build a nest for the safety of their young..  
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Hapless Harry The Minnesota Muscovy Duck Documentary by Lisa Loucks Christenson

This is a documentary in progress about a muscovy duck who arrived on a back slough in SE Minnesota and his survival...  
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