Tim and I took a couple of days away on Solitude, our boat. We chugged down the Strait of Georgia to Cabbage and Tumbo Islands, two small pieces of land jutting out of the sea. Many rocky islets, essentially reefs, stretch along the shoreline of larger islands making navigation something to pay attention to. Fat seals lounge on many of these islets, basking in sun or rain, impervious to the weather.
Everything seems to taste better out in the fresh air. It's like having a perpetual picnic. Unfortunately, on this trip I left the eggs and milk in the fridge at home. One of my friends attributed it to "exhausted teacher brain." Could be. Anyway, I did remember the avocados so we ended up with avocado toast that was very tasty, along with bacon. So glad I didn't forget the bacon! The message on the tea tin is a good reminder to make the most of any situation.
There is a good hiking trail on the larger island, beginning with a forest path, then winding along the shore on a berm between a marsh and the beach. The grasses swayed and rustled in the breeze and Canada Geese looked very at home there.
We stopped to watch this Swallowtail Butterfly flit from thistle to thistle.
High in a tree on smaller Cabbage Island a Bald Eagle surveyed the landscape. We heard a lot of noise and when we looked further down the tree, we noticed a nest with two eaglets feeding.
They look ready to fledge as they were not small. One climbed onto the edge of the nest and we wondered if he was about to take off. Instead, he quickly hopped back into safety.
Benjamin Franklin writes, speaking of the United States, "For my own part, I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen the representative of our country. He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly." After what we saw on our trip, I have to agree with him. Majestic though the birds are, they are ruthless predators.
On our first morning out, while preparing breakfast (without eggs and milk!), I heard a ruckus outside. On the shore a murder of crows wheeled and screamed while a Bald Eagle killed a Great Blue Heron. We sat on the boat, transfixed by what we were seeing. With his talons gripping the heron, the eagle used his beak to tear great wads of feathers that flew into the air and landed on the water, creating a trail of grey blue evidence along the shore. The heron fought, but had no chance.
After a few moments the eagle tried to carry off the heron, but it was still too big, so he tore at the flesh until it was a size he could handle, presumably carrying it to a nest with young ones. The above photo is not the greatest quality, as it was taken from a rocking boat with the telephoto zoomed out.
Later, while we observed the two young eagles in the nest above, we saw another eagle carrying another heron, this one smaller and fully feather, its legs and neck swinging limply as the eagle flew. About 10 minutes later we saw the eagle fly over us with the bloodied carcass, now featherless. We assumed he had gone to the beach to prepare the bird for his young.
The next morning, I saw three eagles chasing a heron. The heron wheeled and turned in desperation, flying and swooping close to the water among the boats at anchor, desperate to escape. I'm happy to say that the heron survived and the eagles left for other prey.
I enjoy watching Bald Eagles; I'm fascinated by Great Blue Herons. But one is food for the other. It was a sobering experience. Nature is often cruel.
On a happier note, the starfish have returned after being decimated by a wasting disease several years ago. They are mostly purple here, with a few pink ones for variety.
Sunset over the water. When we are on the boat we are completely absent from life at home, not just physically, but mentally, as well. We become completely absorbed in the moments and the awe of creation. It's truly a getaway, even for just a few days.
We celebrated Canada Day on the 1st with a barbecue with family. We didn't even stay up for the fireworks! Happy Independence Day to my American readers.