At 11:00 this morning the wind was up from the east. Ray and his daughter Anna got to the launch ramp a couple of minutes after I did, but slow is me—they launched ahead and headed down to the mouth of the river. Anna is a mountain climber, so I reckon kayaking is a pretty tame activity for her.
It was high tide and the waves outside the mouth looked pretty intimidating.
We were at the mouth for only for a few minutes before heading upwind and upstream. Along the shore of the cow pasture above Jenner, a snowy egret was actively catching small animals (probably small fish) in the water.
Upriver from the bridge I heard a distant and strange growling noise, something I’d never heard before. I had no idea what it was, but the sound was clearly coming from from upriver. Looking through binoculars I could see that the “logs” about 1/4 mile upriver were actually seals hauled out on a shoal. I paddled towards them until I was as near as I could get without disturbing them, about 150′ away. Using the zoom lens to the max. I started taking pictures.
The spotted one had quite a lot of drool running out of its mouth. Was it sick? Does anyone know if harbor seals make more noise when they’re sick?
Unlike their sea lion cousins, harbor seals don’t use their voices often. But harbor seals do have vocal chords and they can use them. Here’s what their growling sounded like today.
The growling was louder than you might imagine from watching this video. The camera’s microphone really isn’t optimized for long-distance sound recording like this.
Farther upstream by the Willow Creek Campground the wind that had been blowing so hard at the mouth an hour before turned off and the river went calm
There is a gravel bar on the right bank of the river across from Willow Creek that makes a good place to get out for lunch, thus avoiding muddy boots mucking up the inside of the kayak on the way home.
On the way home the same family of otters that have been hanging out in the river near Paddy’s Rock were at it again, playing and fishing and looking like they were having fun. There were three in this group today. I watched them for a little while, but—alas!—they spooked as I began fumbling with my camera and they turned tail and climbed up into the wooded river bank.
The otter’s tail ends today’s estuarian tale.
A map of this paddle: