I don’t like it when Aki barks during beach walks. Looking over my shoulder I can’t spot the object that has set her off this time. There is a large metal drainpipe mangled by strong tides. Sometimes the little dog barks at such dark shapes. Sometimes she just barks, as if telling a loitering ghost to move on to heaven or hell. Her alarm apparently doesn’t bother the mallard ducks and glaucous-winged gulls that float just shore. Maybe they see Aki’s ghost. It ticks me off since I am trying to sneak up on what look like crows down the beach. They turn out to the remnants of pilings for a wharf that once serviced the AJ Mine.
Down channel the towns of Juneau and Douglas disappear under white, rain-charged clouds but we are in the dry. We are also alone except for the birds. It is two hours short of a 19.1 foot high tide. Already the flood lifts mallard ducks, lesser scaups, and the gulls off their shrinking sand bars lunch counters. Eventually, it will cover the beach and wash away all traces of our passage over the sand. Maybe it will carry away the large lion mane jellyfish that Aki stopped to sniff. In eight more hours we could return to hunt for other things deposited by the retreating tide.