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They always were, the number is just getting smaller. We leave Aug 24, which is just around the corner. Before then we have to figure out how to get our bikes, and Tim’s keyboard to the shipping pick up point. We are sending them home via bike flight, which worked great getting them here.

Until then, I am bonding with the birds, deer, seals and apparently at least one elephant seal that has made its way to the island. Tim went ashore this week for the usual biathalon trip – motor boat, bike 5 miles, swim 1 mile, bike 5 miles (at least 2 downhill) and motor boat back to the island. Instead I stayed and took my usual hour and a half walk. It’s so easy to get exercise when there are no other demands for your time. Must continue this at home.

I usually spend the morning weaving and reading. Then one of us has to clean the dock, do a couple of chores, and then I walk and walk. I highly recommend it. I have been reading books by a few wonderful nature writers, they get it. Solitude and nature is therapeutic. Stopping to watch eagles soar overhead, watching how a sunrise changes in the smoky atmosphere, even watching baby seagulls spread their wings. It’s all good.

I will try to stay off the go, go, go train when I get home. Make time for things I enjoy and don’t waste time on the internet.

These are some of things I saw the past couple of days.

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Another smoky sunrise. A front is moving through today and the smoke should clear. Odd that it affected the atmosphere but it did not smell smoky.

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A pair of Larry’s.

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Smoky mountains called the Olympics.

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Wonderful clouds.

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And the new me.

Fire in the sky. Lingering smoke from the British Columbia wildfires persists. It makes for eerie sunrises and sunsets. When mixed with morning fog, it’s hard to tell what’s what.

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A sleepless night let me catch yesterday’s sunrise.

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This boat ghosted across the harbor the other morning.

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I met a German woman who is an extraordinary athlete. She has sea kayaked alone around Australia, South America and is now working her way around North America. Earlier this season, she paddled from Seattle to Kodiak, Alaska! Now she is working her way south. She seemed a little taken back by the combination of fog or wind, which prevails in August in the Pacific Northwest.  She plans to kayak the east coast of North America in the future, maybe our paths will cross again.

Only a handful of seagull chicks have survived around the cabin. It’s unclear what kills them because they appear undamaged. The ones that survive and are beginning to stretch their wings, keep me entertained.

The eagles seem to be doing just fine.

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As are Larry and Larry. A former caretaker named all the deer Larry and their name stuck.IMG_3246

Seals have hauled up on the beaches to nurse the pups and can be heard mewing and barking while we walk the roads.

All’s well in our part of the world.

 

 

 

 

 

There and back

The public transit system on the Olympic Peninsula has served us well.  This week we took the boat ashore, rode our bikes to the Sequim Transit Center, caught a bus to Port Angeles, hopped aboard a ferry to Victoria and were in our waterfront hotel, with our bikes, by 3.

We were astounded by the harbor as our ferry pulled in. A seaplane landed in front of us and these funny little boats circled the harbor.  Throw in a few kayaks, lots of power boats and it’s quite the scene.

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Construction in Victoria is booming. We stayed right on the water and could watch boats tie up to the customs dock in front of us. We even had a bird’s eye view of a boat fire. Noone was hurt but it exploded after fueling. It was pushed away from the fuel docks and burnt away.

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The smoke added to the smoke from the wildfires in British Columbia which has drifted to the west coast. It made a non-fog-like fog.

 

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I saw our ferry as we crossed the Strait.

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I admired the huge coiled lines, which are put to use each crossing.

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We took the obligatory trip to Buchart Gardens in the north. It was sweltering, smoky and popular, but well worth it. We walked for a few hours, enjoyed the shade under huge Sequoia trees and the lovely scenery.

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Our hotel was a step up from off-the-grid living. It had this fancy bidet – with a dryer!  And slippers and a robe.  Need I say more?

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We rode our bikes along the coast, in search of the bike friendly trail, which doesn’t exist yet but they have plans.

Then we took the trip in reverse. We stopped off and enjoyed Tim’s father’s day gift from his son at a local restaurant.

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And returned to Protection Island where it hasn’t rained in approximately 50 days. The island has dried out.

IMG_2991The seals welcomed us at the marina.

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We caught a smoky sunset and this morning were greeted by the porch residing otter.

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All’s well back on the prairie.

It was inevitable. Here we are, living smack dab in the middle of a seagull colony, invading their space for a few months.  Tempers are high as parents try to ensure their offspring survive.  And the odds are none too good. Numbers are already down around the cabin. Three have already died around the cabin. Yesterday we saw a battle outside the kitchen window when an interloper got too close to the nest.

And just look at how cute the chicks are.

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Those two shots were taken with my iphone through a telescope, no easy feat.

But I digress.

Here it is … don’t go any further if you are eating.

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Tim was shat upon as he cleaned the solar panels outside the cabin. YUCK!!! It has encouraged me to wear my goofy USFWS volunteer hat again. It was bound to happen. Better than being dive bombed I guess!

I heard a call from across the country from the leader of my tablet weaving group for bands to display at a show in Vermont.  She sounded desperate. Any bands would do. It encouraged me to finish a couple that were literally hanging around and I’ll send them today when we head off island en route to Victoria.

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We took a boat ride around the island to make sure boats weren’t getting to close to the nursing seals that are strewn along all the beaches. They blend in so well it is hard to see but here is a shot from the road.

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And one from the boat. The whole gang was involved. Mother, baby, seagulls and chicks. We saw the Harlequin ducks swim over on our return to the marina.

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We went to inspect a crab bouy to make sure it wasn’t too close to the island and had to do a double take. It is topped with a cheery flower. Ah Washington! Sort of sums it up right there.

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That’s all from our cheery outpost on Protection Island on another gorgeous sunny day. I think we have now had about 45 consecutive days of sunshine. Who knew?

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There’s never a dull moment here on Protection Island. We combine our island chores with our own hobbies and interests every day.

Today for instance, I wanted oreo cookies. We won’t be ashore for a few days and didn’t buy them on our last shopping trip but luckily I found a great recipe on the internet. You can see it here. I just happened to have all the ingredients, mostly, on hand. A well stocked larder is the key to life’s pleasures. We don’t have a mixer or beater and we don’t even have a wooden spoon in our kitchen. But my hands and a strong, long handled, metal serving spoon did the trick. Although I overcooked them a little and shaped the cookies too big, they are delicious and satisfied my craving. I may let Tim eat one or two as well.

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Yesterday I reached a milestone. I finished knitting a lace shawl I started for my daughter in 2015 while we were caretakers on Deal Island, Tasmania. I wrote about it here. I knit the body of the shawl, which measured 60 x 30″, during our 3 month fall season there and brought it home to  “just” finish the edging. I could knit about 3 inches of edging a night, there were 17 feet of edging to knit, or 204 inches, which basically would have taken 3 solid months, every night. But other projects intervened. So with some devoted knitting time here and the courage finally to rip out my provisional cast on, the shawl is complete. The pattern was recreated from a lace stole made in the Shetland Islands by Mrs. Jane Thomasina Williamson and was a joy to knit.

Here’s my version.

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I’ll wait until I get home to wash and block it in our pristine well water.

The other activity I obviously enjoy is taking photographs. The scenery and wildlife are inspiring. Sometimes unexpected, to me at least, results occur. I took a few photographs of sunset when we went out for a walk after dinner. I must confess, I almost always only use my iphone these days for photos. I am sooo lazy. I even gave away my SLR camera.

Anyhow, when I looked at the photos, they were marred by a green dot. Not the rumored green flash seen at sunset. A distinct dot off to the side. A quick google search revealed it happens commonly with the iphone camera because…well the reason eluded me. Something about not having filters and a reflection off the lens. It may be prevented by aiming the camera so the green dot ends up in the middle of the bright light. Or it can be edited from the photo. Since I already had the shots I chose to edit them.

Here is the original photo, I was trying to catch a silhouette of a cruise ship leaving the Strait of Juan de Fuca near the New Dungeness Lighthouse.

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Notice the green dot. Next I tried to edit it with Snapseed. This was my first attempt with interesting results. The area I “healed” ended up in a different place and two ships appeared.

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Interesting but not what I was aiming for. Here’s the final version.

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See how the day flies by?

Babysitting

Parents always keep a watchful eye on their offspring. Even when the young appear to be independent and off on their own, there is a noisy set of eyes about. It is still not enough though. We have seen broken eggs and dead chicks right around the cabin. It’s a bird eat bird world here on Protection Island.

IMG_2601IMG_2602The smallest try to stretch their wings.

Seal pups stick close to their mothers. We’ll be out on the boat today and may get better photos but here’s one from the dock.IMG_2609

The mule deer and the eagles, especially, keep a sharp lookout.

IMG_2595Here’s the ruckuss an eagle stirs up when it flies into the seagull colony.

Tim tried to reduce the noise around the house by making one lookout less popular. Notice he’s in full protective gear.

IMG_2615Then three small planes flew around in formation making their own buzzing and stalling noise.

IMG_2619As Roseanne Anna Danna used to say, “It’s always something”.

My latest diversion is telling Siri, “I see a little silhouette of a man”. If you were a fan of Queen, tell her and see what she has to say about it.

The island’s population doubled since I left two weeks ago.  First of all there are now two humans but that’s not what I am talking about. I would say on average every Glaucous winged gull couple has had two offspring, and there are seal pups on all the beaches.

I spent time yesterday watching baby seals nurse, some on the beach and another while in the water. Photos couldn’t capture it but it was a wonder to watch.

As annoying they will become later, the seagull babies are quite cute. Not as cute as my grandchildren of course but cute. The eggs are grey and speckled and so are the chicks when they hatch.  Interesting.

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We had a low flying plane pass overhead today. That’s a no no and the powers that be will hear about this.

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I got to put my trailer skills to use today. I had a tough time getting it to make the 90 degree turn I needed but with some coaching from Tim I got it into this tight space so we can fill the wood shed.

IMG_2544The weather has been so beautiful we won’t be adding to global warming anytime soon though.

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