Sea Otters and Puffins
30 July 2007
We started to head out yesterday afternoon, but the wind was still southwesterly and fairly strong as we came back out of Winter Harbour after topping off the fuel, so we ducked back into North Harbour. This time we headed up toward Browning Inlet and saw the most amazing sight: a "raft" of sea otters! (They're the dark bumps in the photo.)
I called them a "herd" when I first saw them, but Douglass mentions a "raft" (in parentheses) in Exploring Vancouver Island's West Coast. It isn't clear that he knows what that many sea otters in a group are called either. The proper word is something to ask the Monterey Bay Aquarium about when we visit. Anyway, there must have been 20 or 30.
We had heard from Mike and Susie (back in Sointula) that the reintroduction of the sea otters had ruined the shellfish harvesting, and we saw the one in Winter Harbour munching on crab, but we didn't realize just how successful the reintroduction had been. They were introduced south of the Brooks Peninsula, but we're well north of there, and they appear to be going strong. Unfortunately, wherever they are, the crabs are gone.
Tonight we're on a mooring buoy at Klaskino Inlet. A boat named Juniata followed us in. We first saw them coming out of Bull Harbour, and we both came around Cape Scott together. They were also at Sea Otter Cove when we were there. This time they came over and introduced themselves. They're Dave and Marsha, also from California: Colfax, up in the hills beyond Sacramento. They're also headed to Mexico, but they're going to wait until after the Baja Ha-ha.
On our way here this morning, we went through a flock of puffins. (They probably don't call a bunch of puffins a flock either.) Dave and Marsha said they've never seen so many in one place before, and they've spent several years up here now. They're very shy birds, but we got pretty close. John didn't get a photo, though, because it was kind of lumpy on the ocean this morning.