Snettisham 2021 - 2: A Long-awaited Success
June 18 - 22


Halcyon inlet

Photo Album

It's a perfectly lovely evening, blue sky peering between billowy white clouds, a calm river, the distant drum of a crabber pulling into Gilbert Bay. I ought to be ecstatic to be back! Maybe I am a little. It has been a severely stressful several weeks so that everything has felt like drudgery, and still does. I wish to goodness I could put Hughesnet madness behind me, but my attempt tonight was unfruitful (the old modem kept powering off and the new one won't register) and I'd left my batteries behind on the boat so I was forced to use the genset again. The only thing all week that I thought might help my dour mood was a trip here, a trip to rejuvenate without the endless chores of town. The garden, as of last weekend, is in good standing and, after this morning, I hope that the bilge pump on my boat is working. The boats in the boathouse are switched, my mom and I are caught up, the house isn't a complete disaster, the plants are watered. I worked hard all week, and had to take yesterday afternoon off to do errands over lunch, catch up with my mom before I left, and crash a little bit before my first in-person Glory Hall board meeting. Most of the time I felt okay, but any hindrance would set me near to tears. So much wasn't going right.

Anyway, yesterday I'd managed to connect my bilge pump fuse to a battery connector with my mom's vice, which was a huge step, and this morning I spliced it in and reconnected all the wiring. Over two sessions I'd replaced the entire bilge pump system (pump, float switch, wiring) except the fuse, but I strongly suspect now that the problem was a loose battery connector from where it had bent at harsh angle to avoid the other connectors on the positive terminal. I also secured the fourth latch on the door between the seats, having needed to procure smaller screws from the last time I tried. I'd also brought down most of my gear, so loaded that all up, then backed the Kathy M up and tied her to the main float, tied the Ronquil to the end of the boathouse, and moved the Kathy M back in. It took a bit of time to figure out how best to secure her in the new spot and the Ronquil behind her, move around fenders, etc. It was 11:00 when I got back home, dull and full of drudgery, but ready to just do more of it. I rested a bit and talked with Ezra, had some snacks, and then headed back to the harbor. Ezra saw me off at about 12:20. The forecast called for 1' seas through the whole route, but the flags were waving pretty good and a stiff breeze was evident everywhere. A steady rain had been falling all morning. I was prepared for a long haul and a slow run, and I got it. The channel was bearable at the predicted 1' and I didn't take much longer than usual. But I was met with two footers at the mouth that I ran into all the way to Arden. As I banged through them, I composed a message to entertain myself as though I was playing a game: "You've reached Point Arden! Level two reward: no rain. Level three: Grave Point. Obstacles: erratic seas and continuing spray." Ezra enjoyed it. The spray turned out to be constant past Arden, washing over my corner of the boat from the nasty southeastly coming from behind Grand Island. I was mostly protected, but I think it hit poor Cailey huddled on her bed--at least she had her new jacket on. It was so persistent that I could not see much through the wash on the windshield, much less than when it was merely raining. It was terrible. And slow. Half way down Grand, we ran through a tide rip and were able to get up to speed for about a minute before bigger swells slowed us down again, building from two to three feet as I reached Grave Point. I feared it would only get worse. It was a battle getting through them, thrown around, crashing, trying to work my way toward shore in the hopes of a little respite. It took two hours to get to Grave, the half way point, which usually gets us to Snettisham. The going was horrible from there and we pulled a little way into Limestone Inlet for a break and to check the gas. It looked like it had plenty, so I used the bucket and we beat our way back out over the seas on the reef and into a much better scene. It was finally beginning to lay down and we were able to pick up a little more speed. Inside the port I stopped and did add five gallons to the fuel tank just in case. A crabber was leaving the inlet, and I wove through a maze of floats as I turned into the river. It was 4:00, two and a half hours after low tide, but still too low to get close and we went aground well away from the flats. After remembering to lift the engine all the way, I was able to disembark and stay dry in my xtratuffs. I set the anchor, carried Cailey half way to shore, then headed to the lodge with backpack, camera, weed whacker, clothes/book bag, and sat phone. After delivering, I stripped off my rain gear and outer sweater and returned for both totes, leaving the batteries, the cooler, and a few odds and ends until the tide rose.

It was a relief to be here, but I was still in drudgery mode. The potato pot had been knocked over, chewed on, and mostly emptied of its contents and the water pressure is low, so I'm sure there's a problem with it somewhere. After I got the systems going and opened up, I started the generator and tried for internet, hoping I could get that done with quickly, but with the issues I encountered I didn't bother to make any phone calls. I just don't have it in me. I lit a fire in the chilly lodge and heated up some Indian food for dinner.

So here I am, the meadow a deep, lush green before me, beautiful but oh so overgrown. The roses are blooming but were lost beneath the native vegetation, especially the smallest one which wasn't getting any light at all. I cleared most of the weeds away by hand, slicing my finger in the process. A hummingbird has been buzzing around--amazingly, one of the feeders still has a small amount of sweet nectar in it. This must mean that they, too, are sparse this year. A Pacific slope flycatcher met my landing with his charming calls and a hermit thrush has been singing regularly. I've heard sooty grouse and just a few minutes ago an eagle dove on the water and picked up a twig, which it circled with and carried into the area of the old nest. This bears investigation this weekend. I almost wish it were still raining, for tomorrow is likely to be my only sunny day here, so the only day I could stain the lodge or weed whack, the two main tasks to do other than internet, which I'd also like to get done. Or not, as the case likely is. At least I think plant identification will be prosperous.

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It's evening, after seven, and two hermit thrushes have been countersinging, as they did earlier today, both upriver. A harbor seal head drifts among the ripples on the shaded inlet and I look out on a path to the water strewn with cut grass. It's supposed to rain heavily starting tomorrow afternoon, so I plan to rake the cut vegetation in the morning before it gets wet. Finally I have found that bliss that I've been lacking the last...six weeks? My first Snetty trip immediately turned into Taku prep, including trying to get my mom's 7000 internet set up and a whole lot of other tasks, and then my mom's broken leg on top of more internet woes, and other things, have kept me in a constant state of stress. While I had a few successes (e.g., gutter, perch repair, garden eventually), things just didn't feel like they were going right. I felt often of the verge of breaking down. My hopes for snapping out of it hinged on this trip. And now here I am, content, pleased, with some mosquito coils burning next to me and a flycatcher occasionally calling along with the renewed hermit thrushes. The bird life has been pretty quiet. I saw a jay, heard what sounded like a baby crow being fed upriver, heard a Townsend's warbler nearby a few times, chickadees once, the hermit thrushes, one hummingbird, and the wonderful Pacific slope flycatcher who I caught making some other sounds today near Cottonwood.

I had a decent night's sleep. I was so tired that I closed my eyes just after 9:00, not even drinking my usual cup of tea I was so exhausted. I slept reasonably well, though it took me a long time to warm up enough to fall asleep and I was wakeful for a little bit in the night. I woke up around 8:00 and didn't linger long in bed, feeling well rested and beckoned by the glorious day outside. I knew there was much to do--at the very least, weed whacking, staining, water. But when I made it to the lodge, I had a terrible stomach ache. While Cailey ate her kibble with gusto, I ate a scoop of peanut butter and found that I was too uncomfortable to work. I laid down with Cailey on the couch and read for a while, hoping it would pass. So it was that I didn't get to work until 10:00. The sun still had not reached the porch and I was quite chilled, huddling my hands under the quilt between page turns. I knew I'd warm up as I got to work, and I did as I took clippers and cut cow parsnip and berry bushes, etc., fringing the porch and the stairs down to the trail. I was pleased to discover that forget-me-knots were blooming on both sides of the stairs as well as next to a patch of irises--I hadn't had much hope for any of them (transplanted last year), but they are blooming beautifully. The only problem is that it makes weed whacking tricky, as I would normally just cut right against the stairs and the forget-me-knots were quite overgrown. Anyway, I was trimming the many devil's club leaves and berry bushes reaching toward the boardwalk when I finally accepted what my heart had been trying to communicate: the thing that would calm me down and allow me to enjoy this beautiful day was getting the internet sorted. So when my trimming was done for the moment, I returned to it, hooking up my inverter to power the modem instead of starting the generator. Last time, the battery hadn't been powerful enough to run it, but this time I used my brand new, fully charged marine battery and it ran without a hitch. Since it was already hooked up, I started with the new modem which had timed out of registration yesterday. This time, to my relief, after reinstalling and getting the first three green checks, the Terminal Installation link took me to the same page I'd seen last time where I entered my SAN and PIN and verified my address. Five green checks! At first I was quite optimist as the status box was initially green while the modem supposedly downloaded software updates. But in time it turned yellow or orange and I returned to the main page to find myself in walled garden mode again. Time to call Hughesnet.

I started up the sat phone, which I'd rented for $75 (and a $1,500 deposit) plus $1/minute from the Juneau Armory and called Joe, my Hughesnet rep, from the edge of the porch. That call got dropped quickly but I was able to call again from the top of the beach when pointing toward the mountain behind me. I was worried because he said he was being called to his flight, but he answered again and said he'd connect me to Hughesnet. Then the call dropped again, though I didn't realize it immediately. I called back, relieved that Joe was there on the line with Hughesnet, which had already been briefed. I gave them my SAN and we waited. The tech said it was taken care of, and I should try browsing. Joe, to my delight, said I couldn't do that because I was on a beach half a mile away! Good man. He knew how sat phones work in Southeast Alaska. I said I'd leave the phone propped up and go check and maybe they'd still be on the line when I got back. I raced to the lodge with prayers for success, and immediately saw that I had six new emails on one of my accounts. I looked around and verified that they'd come in today. It had worked. I ran back to the beach, but the call had been terminated, so I called Joe just to let him know that it worked. I couldn't believe it. Such relief.

I read and wrote a few emails and, still surprisingly not hungry, decided to tackle water, which is another luxury that makes a great deal of difference in quality of life and morale. I'd noticed immediately that water pressure was low yesterday and it seemed to be falling. Something was wrong. I grabbed gloves and a hoe and headed up to the new trail, encouraging Cailey to join me. I didn't hear any catastrophic leaks on the way and checked on the splice I'd fixed last time which was in good shape. But when I reached the olive barrel I found it, for the first time, washed out, sitting in the creek below its usual hollow. Half the dam had been washed out. I wondered if it was the torrential rain we've had on and off lately or the fact that I'd more successfully diverted water toward the barrel, or both. I climbed up and began hoeing out a new opening, wishing half way through that I'd scraped the rocks off the waterfall instead of onto the ever-growing mound I was making mid-stream. I eventually shoved the barrel up and more or less into place, though I couldn't get it perpendicular to the flow as much as I wanted, in part due to the pressure of the hose which was no longer held in its usual place on the log below. I scooped more rocks from under the front of the barrel, repositioned the rock inside, and had a few inches of water flowing in. Once the hose was hooked onto the log below again and held down by rocks in the dam, it was steady. I built up the dam, but couldn't raise the water's height very well, and eventually called it good for now, not wanting to destroy the dam to continue excavating under the barrel. Water was not flowing through the pipe, though it seemed like it should have been. I pumped the pipe just below the barrel a few times, which might have helped, but it didn't fill it. In the end, I decided it might need a valve opened to let it breath out the air trapped inside, so Cailey and I headed down. As the last time, she'd sat on the trail looking downhill the whole time as though she were guarding me.

When I opened the valve at Hermit Thrush, water gushed out to varying pressures and, after a while, it came out muddy, and I was glad that hadn't been forced through filters. When it had run clear for a while I returned to the lodge and let it run out of the valve there for a while. It looked like I had water again, which was another relief. Things were really looking up! While I was at it, I hooked up the hose and sprayed down the back and downriver sides of the lodge to prep it for future staining. But, with the relief of putting internet trials behind me, I was no longer concerned about it. It was only a little after noon by then
, so at long last I sat down on the porch and ate a delicious quesadilla in the sun that was just beginning to reach us. I read for just a little bit, looked up some plants (confirming that I have both western and little buttercups blooming as well as a surprise winter cress), and then got back to work in a completely different state of mind. It was only then 1:30.

And it was time to weed whack. With the generator already more or less in place, I started by cutting along the boardwalks (after picking up everything I'd already clipped), then to the roughest area around the firepit where the vegetation was over waste high. I had to work on the cord a couple of times when it got jammed or was too loose, replacing it entirely the first time since it was so short, but otherwise it worked extremely well. It was blisteringly hot, but I was working in my thin sweater to protect myself from cow parsnip burns and xtratufs to protect my feet (and because the area is wet), so I was uncomfortable. Once something splattered on my face, so I quickly washed it off in the sink to make sure it didn't burn. And when I was done, I grabbed a beer from the freshet and drank it with my shirt off sitting on the cooler on the deck where there was still a bit of shade. A steady breeze was coming in off Gilbert Bay and, for once, I was grateful for it. Wonderfully cool, it also kept the bugs at bay. In the meantime, Cailey had asked to go inside, presumably to escape the heat. I relaxed a little longer in a camp chair at the very edge of the porch by the stairs where my head was out of the sun, mostly nude, and read for a little bit.

I also did some odds and ends, putting out full hummingbird feeders, putting away the spare modem to take back to town, and doing other little chores inside to tidy up. It always takes the second day to finish unpacking and organizing after I arrive, and it always feels so good to get it done. Outside I gloved up again and weeded the rhubarb and finished weeding the roses. A bear had finally demolished the support for the downriver bench they'd been working on for a year or two, so I will need to find a round or something to put it on. At 4:15 I looked out at the low tide flats in the sunshine and decided I'd go for a leisurely COASST walk. I rolled up my pants, slung my binoculars over my tank top, tucked bear mace in my pocket and headed downriver, failing to find any evidence of an eagle's nest. On the way back upriver I carried the chainsaw, chaps, and gas up to the stone path from the boat, then continued upriver. It was extremely pleasant walking barefoot on the mud. The creek outlet was full of schools of juvenile salmonids. A few mew gulls sat at the edge of the river, a flycatcher called from upriver (the neighbor?) and there was the crow, but little else including prints. Cailey plodded happily along behind me, or maybe she just looked happy because of the grin of a hot dog. I was content anyway, and the afternoon was lovely. When we got back, I weed whacked the rest of the trails, starting from the junction up to the stairs, to the bridge, along Mink, and back to the boardwalk. Then I carried the generator across the bridge and weed whacked the trail to Harbor Seal and along the trail upriver to just after it descends behind the pipe, figuring the rest was unnecessary. I also decided that it wasn't necessary to trim the trail to Hermit Thrush beyond the stairs. I was pretty exhausted from holding the vibrating weed whacker so much. I put everything away, then popped a box of scalloped potato mix in the oven with fresh broccoli and carrots inside and a sockeye portion on top. Cailey ate some of her chicken rice and soaked dry kibble that I'd taken out of the cooler this morning while I cleaned up, changing into fresh clothes and washing my face early. While dinner finished cooking, I sipped wine, checked my email, and started streaming an episode of Startrek TNG, which I finished during dinner. What a treat! I'd thought earlier about streaming a movie tonight, but it was such a beautiful evening that it seemed a shame, and Startrek did just fine. Now it's 8:05 and the tide is high. I'm surprised I haven't seen a single warbler and heard only the Townsend's. What happened to the Wilson's and orange-crowned? Perhaps more will be revealed as I plan to spend more time luxuriating in the deck tomorrow, with tea which I never had today. As an aside, I worry that multiple species seem scarce this year, though there is now a Swainson's thrush singing on our side of the avalanche at home. But no hermit thrushes around the house in town, there's apparently only one hummingbird here (and there was still nectar after my six week or so absence). HA HA HA. Just as I was writing that, I heard a buzz and in came an male rufous hummingbird. So, there are at least two! I hope that my uncertainties about reduced bird populations are unwarranted.

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Other than getting up several times, I slept well, especially once my legs stopped bothering me. And I slept in. When I turned my phone on it was 9:23, a great sign that I am feeling better. Cailey, too, was in a good mood, and solicited tummy rubs and head rubs for a long time. I made some mediocre pancakes for breakfast, anticipating tea to follow shortly, but I wound up deciding to rake the path first in anticipation of the rain to follow the serenely overcast morning. When all the vegetation I'd raked together was thrown over the log into a future high tide, I perused the meadow for more flower samples to identify including verifying Siberian miner's lettuce, a shooting star blossom that had only four petals and thus might be a Jeffrey's shooting star (though I fear this may remain a mystery until an expert helps), and the small white flower I'd found yesterday, which I could not find for the life of me in the book. All this while I sipped my Russian tea and listened to a flycatcher, a Townsend's warbler, and hermit thrushes. When I'd exhausted the search, I turned to embroidery, finishing the lettering in my gift to Ezra. All the while, crabbers were working the inlet as they have since I arrived, in a surprisingly quick rotation. There are at least three coming so far: the Obsession, the Arete, and the Blueback. After that I worked on prepping Harbor Seal for Katie, Rob, and Eleanore, which involved sweeping, hooking up water filters, dusting, and linens. I dare say it looks pretty cozy in there. I also swept the bridge, moved the roll of carpeting to Mink, raked the path to the cabin outhouse, tidied up the shed, and rinsed and scrubbed (a little) Keet and Taan, two of the kayaks I rarely use. While the hose was out, I rinsed off the deck and the stairs, using the spray to get at the clumps of spruce needles that sweeping doesn't take care of. I was amazing at how wonderful they look all cleaned up that way. Then I came inside and had leftover scalloped potatoes and nachos for lunch while I read and wrote some emails. Then I read another chapter of my book while it sprinkled on and off in the inlet and the tide finished dropping. It was already 3:00 then, but I was sleepy, as Cailey was also, curled up comfortably on the couch, so I decided to lie down. A nap never came, perhaps because I got involved in the book I was reading, but I luxuriating in the comfort and rest and lack of anxiety.

When I did get it up, I went on a little mission upriver carrying the clippers. I encouraged Cailey to come along again. On the way back, I picked up three flat rocks to help with the muddy sections of the path to the cabin outhouse, placing them after I clipped the path to Harbor Seal, forcing myself to cut the fresh growth on the blueberries reaching out into the path. I hate to cut blueberries, but I do like a clean path. By then it had started to rain very hard and my legs were getting damp, so I decided to put rain gear on and do some other chores before dinner. Cailey came inside, but I grabbed a shovel and carried the potato bucket down to the beach thinking to fill it with sand. The nearest sand was a little ways away and I wound up carrying over four shovels full, which half filled the bucket with what was already in it, but made is very heavy to carry. I selected a spot for it next to a cluster of irises, hoping it would be less conspicuous for nosy bears than next to the berries and rotting benches. I then carried four shovel fulls of wrack from downriver in the area where it was so thick this spring--the material I'd originally used to fill the bucket. It was thicker there, so the vegetation is sparser than it was on this side and I was able to grab handfuls from around the stems most of the time. While there, I checked on Cottonwood 2 and found it healthy with two whorls of green leaves. I trimmed a few branches around it, but it was not overgrown and its little island of substrate seems to be holding.

By then I was pretty wet, so I tidied up a few other things, moving rocks back to the firepit to make a complete ring, replacing the rotten/eaten log for the downriver bench with a round from my stack, and propping up the bendy plank in the boardwalk with a trio of PT stubs (having done this again with the piece right next to the deck earlier). It was a satisfying bunch of tasks--it feels so good to do the extra, civilizing tasks after the more pressing ones are taken care of. Now I'm sitting on the couch in dry clothes with a fire going, thinking about dinner and streaming a movie....just because I can. :) I finally started a log tonight on how much use the battery gets so I can better estimate how long they'll last in the future. The older battery which I'd recharged in town and which was able to run my inverter there, failed after a couple of minutes, so I'm wondering if I should purchase another expensive boat battery so I can leave one here and take the other to town to charge. That inverter is wonderful; before I started writing this, I knew my other laptop battery was low, so I just plugged my laptop in and swapped them with the inverter running so I didn't have to shut down. Wonderful. The inlet is now so misted over I can't see much beyond the boat; I can hear a crabber, but cannot see them. I wonder why they are working so hard? Is it a short season?

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Dinner was a simple affair of lentils and bread, chased by some chocolate and two rolls of homemade grapefruit-strawberry fruit leather washed down with a cold diet root beer while watching Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom on the couch. It felt pretty decadent. Cailey chose to spend the time on her bed in front of the fire! The streaming worked beautifully despite a warning that my machine couldn't play it, and only paused once to buffer. I plugged in my laptop mid-way through and the inverter got much louder, which was interesting. It was after 9:00 when we finished and I was surprised to find that it was still quite comfortably light out. I guess it is about solstice! I slept fairly well and was pleased to find that I was up at a more reasonable hour, hopping out of bed around 8:00. This morning I was determined to have a more normal leisurely morning with a proper cut of tea before work. On the way over, I heard a Wilson's warbler singing near the boardwalk, which was something of a relief, though I never saw or heard him again. I ate toast for breakfast and a spoonful of peanut butter, then made myself a cup of jasmine tea and drank it as hoped for on the porch. It was a serene, overcast morning, supremely pleasant and greatly brightened by the fact that I could see two brilliant rose blossoms over the edge of the porch and a hint of purple in the budding geranium. When I'd smelled their sweetness yesterday I'd noticed the myriad tiny bugs in them, and I like that the locals are happy with them too.

At 10:15 I went to use the outhouse and brought with me an old picture from my childhood that I'd meant to hang inside, nailing it to the door. While I was there I gave it a good sweeping to clean up the cobwebs, as I'd done yesterday to the other outhouse, and wiped the mildew off the door with a handiwipe. It looks good in there, ready for guests. Shortly thereafter I decided to tackle another project: cleaning up the tree that had fallen up the path to that same outhouse. I got my wonderful little Poulan chainsaw going and was soon bucking up the top pieces that had fallen off apparently when it hit the outhouse, then limbing the top and side of the log where it lays against the path and cutting up the top five feet or so. Once I'd gone through with clippers for the salmonberries and a rake, the area looks quite a bit more civilized, and I discovered that most of the path is actually clear alongside the log. I couldn't believe how well that project went. While there I also unhooked and stowed the hose.

After that I decided to do the final bit of clipping left: the new trail for the water system, having noticed how overgrown it was with young devil's club shoots when I'd worked on the catchment. Starting at the outhouse, I circled around and up to the olive barrel, finding the pool water pouring over the top of my dam. Since the water had been several inches shy of top when I'd stacked it up, I took that opportunity to shore it up and plug holes and soon had a much better dam and a deeper pool for the barrel. Back at the main trail, I detoured to Hermit Thrush to find a battery that worked for the carbon monoxide alarm since testing it terrifies Cailey, who I'd left in the cabin to rest. It only took a moment, but it makes me feel a lot better while burning the stove. On the way back I brought a broom and dust pan to Harbor Seal, did some final tidying, and locked it up.

Pleased with the morning's work, I made a quesadilla for lunch and found that, although I had a LAN connection, I did not have internet. It was unclear what was wrong and, a little uneasy, I retired to the porch to finish a book.

A few hours later, the internet was working well, to my vast relief. I read and wrote a few emails, then brushed Cailey on the porch, removing a prodigious amount of fur. The day continued to be fine, so we went for a walk, first circling the new trail to spray the remaining valves with WD-40, having noticed that some of them were getting difficult to turn. When finished, we walked down to the creek and descended it to the beach, wandering upriver a ways on the flats. I noticed many of the little red spiders/mites on the rocks and saw that, on one rock, they were clustered in two circular areas that were dry. Curious! I really need to figure out what they are. On the way back I stopped by the boat and put some gas in and noticed that my drill bag was quite wet, though stashed beneath the glove box. I left it there temporarily and walked to the old eagle tree after again searching for and failing to find another nest. I climbed up beneath it and saw branches on the ground as usual, but nothing catastrophic and no clues as to the eagle's activity this summer. I've seen them around, perching in some of their usual places, but not as often and not with any particular intensity.

On the way back I picked up the drill bag and the garden stakes I'd forgotten to unload and headed back to the lodge. Cailey and I both thought it was dinner time, but I stalled a little and had a tiny glass of wine by the picture window. While there I remembered to work on the fridge and tried to start it both with the lighting mechanism and a match, to no avail. I really don't have much troubleshooting I can do. For dinner I cut up a steak and rolled the pieces in flour and cooked it with the rest of the broccoli and carrots. While that cooked I rinsed the dishes and then had appetizers of bread with olive oil and wine back at the picture window. After dinner I returned to the deck outside and worked on my embroidery for a while before heading here. I've had such a good stay, I'll be coming back a whole different person.

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But apparently I still needed to catch up on a little sleep. I was up briefly at 7:00, then cozied up back in bed and fell asleep until 9:45. Given that the tide was at noon, I suddenly had a cramped morning! Which was a bit of a shame because it was a perfectly lovely morning and by the time I sat down on the deck for breakfast/lunch a couple of hours later (after cleaning and packing) I very much wanted to stay. The Wilson's warbler that had been singing all morning hopped up out of the berry bushes and perched on an overhanging spruce bough, so I at last had a look at him. Hummingbirds were coming regularly, and at last count I had at least two females, what appears to be a young-of-the-year, and the male. The young one is presumed so because he probed at various places at the feeder two days ago and then hovered in front of me to check out the red hanger on the mosquito coil burner and the red on the quilt over my knees. Unfortunately, I lingered only about ten minutes if that. At least I wasn't grumpy about the chores, only a little anxious about the falling tide. I did take the time to trim back more of the salmonberries on the upriver side of the stairs and sweep the path of the remaining bits of cut grass before carrying everything down to the water.

My mood wasn't helped by discovering that my bilge pump had failed after having spent several sessions replacing the entire system over the last two weeks. I bailed the back so Cailey could have a dry place to lay, though the blankets did eventually get soaked later in the trip. All in all, though, it was a perfectly lovely partly cloudy day to be on the water. There was a light chop from the west in the port, then from the northwest as we turned into Stephen's Passage that made me nervous about what I might find in the inlet. A large ice berg drifted off toward Admiralty. Then just south of Limestone the seas suddenly built into two-foot white caps from across Stephen's Passage and slowed us right down. If it was like that, or worse, the rest of the trip, we'd have another hard, slow go of it. It was bad enough that I headed for shore hoping that we could get some shelter from Grave Point. Whether that did the trick or the winds died down, I'm not sure, but we were able to get back up to speed and the seas only got better all the way to Point Arden. Through that time, it was a lovelyish ride, a relief. Past Arden I saw that it was, in fact, a westerly, as good sized swells from the back side of Douglas slowed us down again. Thankfully, they did not manifest in the channel. Ezra met me at the boat house and I let him load cards while I scrambled around tying on fenders and making sure the boats were snuggling safely. It was, suddenly, summer, and a perfectly lovely summer evening, so much so that I threw on a dress after I showered and we went to eat outside downtown. Hallelujah!


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