Neither Aki nor I speak the language but I still enjoy the locals’ conversations. Along he forested part of the trail we thrushes, robins, wrens share their work songs. Eagles bitch at each other. Gulls bicker. Ducks warn others raft members of our approach to the beach.


In spite of all the forest noise, the beach is empty. A strip of fog forms a funny hat on Benjamin Island. Most of the action is at Shaman Island where the gulls and eagles linger. Close in a small collection of harlequin ducks make quick dives on baitfish.


Back in the forest, it’s more bird song and the occasional squirrel chatter. Near the car two red-breasted sapsuckers hammer the parallel parking sign. One flushes away. The other climbs to the top of a sign and gives up a hard look.

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