Monday, May 18, 2015

San Juan Sweep


After a nights stay in Port Townsend we set sail for the San Juans. Our first couple nights were spent at one of our forever-favorite spots, Watmough Bay, where we hiked another lovely Mother's Day away. Our next stop was Rosario Resort. We spent our first afternoon swimming in the super cool 1920's indoor pool and showering. The next day we hired a taxi to drive us part way up Mount Constitution. He dropped us at the Little Summit trailhead. From there we hiked the last two miles to the top where we enjoyed one of our favorite views in the world before hiking the six miles back down to Rosario. We spent our next night in the tiny picturesque cove at Matia Island where we walked the winding trail below towering old-growth trees. While I was lounging about on the fore-deck in the sun I watched bald and golden eagles swoop through the anchorage and listened to the chattering of the resident guillemots. Next we made the short hop over to Sucia Island where we spent two nights in Ewing Cove. The first afternoon we were serenaded by sea lions off on a distant point. We watched them laze about and occasionally awkwardly lumber into the water with huge splashes. On a nearby rock outcropping we watched four seal pups wriggle there way up to bask in the sunshine. On land we came across a family of geese, two parents and seven goslings. We startled them as we came around a corner along a thirty foot cliff and I started to squeak about how cute they were when they did something very unexpected....they started waddling their little selves towards the cliff. My squeaks of delight turned to disbelief as I asked, "oh my gosh, what are they......aaaahhh! aaaahh! aaaahh!" We stood frozen as we watched the tiny goslings hurl themselves off the cliff to escape....us. They turned into little puffy balls and bounced down the cliff as I continued to aaaaah! aaaah! aaaah! We all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw six little puffballs stand up at the bottom and waddle there way into the water after their parents. We thought they were all safe but then we watched in horror as a seventh fell off of the cliff and landed with a sickening thud. We stood in sad silence waiting for the seventh to move when we realized....we were staring in mourning....at a rock. It was much too flat and rocklike to be a gosling....phew! A short second later the real seventh gosling appeared at a higher point on the cliff and after a moment of deliberation, bravely hurled himself off the top and landed n the waterline with a tiny splash. The brave little gosling paddled his little self into the water to join the rest of his family. It was, a waterfall of goslings...something we never thought we'd see or even imagined existed. Now I know you are thinking to yourself that this is an extremely rare sight indeed, but as it turns out I witnessed another cascade of goslings when I brought Pika to shore for a bathroom break. Crazy Sucia goslings!











Click here for photos.

5 comments:

  1. Wonderful pictures, as always

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fun to see many places with which I am familiar

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm exploring the BC coast this summer too and I'd love to rendezvous with you. I'm getting ready to head up Jervis Inlet and it sounds like you're still working your way north. Maybe we'll cross path in a couple weeks on my way back down? Get in touch with me: chris@sanjuansufficiency.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. In eastern Washington, geese often nest in cliffs above lakes. Goslings are very precocious. They don't require maternal feeding, and can swim shortly after hatching. Momma goose will fly the next to the lake or pond and call the babies to leap off the cliff to the ground or water. Sometimes she'll actually grasp them with her beak and toss them from the cliff. They will bounce and tumble off rocks without injury. Then she'll fly down to the gather the babies and walk a short distance to the water. It's an amazing sight and you were lucky to see it. You just happened upon the family when it was time to "fly the coop." Both parents watch over the little ones in the water and on shore. Families gather together and you'll see a large group of babies with numerous parent couples. Geese are monogamous for life unless one of the mates dies. The surviving mate will mate again though.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Randy, thanks for the info. My bird-loving son reassured me that it was just a normal nature thing and we shouldn't be worried. It's fun to hear it explained in detail. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete