I am rushing to be first today on the Outer Point Trail. It has become crowded later in the day since the pandemic hit the rainforest. This morning I want to share it only with Aki. Telling myself that we soon be at the trailhead, I stop near a boat ramp to allow Aki a chance to relieve herself.
A seal splashes nearby while the little dog does her business. At first, I doubt that it is a seal. Normally, they never make a sound, even when diving on a fast-moving salmon. Just before it crash dives again, I make out the sad dog face of a harbor seal. Every minute or so, the seal surfaces for a second and then makes a splashy dive. When it spots me on the shore, the seal returns to stealth mode and moves quietly towards the little dog and I.
I’ve seen seals drive salmon toward other seals by slapping flippers on the water’s surface. But this guy is working alone. Is he bored, or is he scaring herring into a right ball that will make them easier to eat? After the seal disappears, I hustle Aki into the car and drive to the trailhead parking lot, which is empty. I rush to the pond but find no ducks or geese sheltering the in the reeds. The beach, when we reach it is empty. All the fish ducks must be working the waters of out the outer coast.
The panicked honking of Canada geese breaks morning silence. Coming from the direction of the beaver pond, a wedge of geese skim over the beach and fly toward the Chilkat Mountains on the opposite side of Lynn Canal. I wish that Aki and I had lingered at the pond long enough to have spotted the geese and witnesses the attack that drove them into the air.