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
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
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
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 .