|Heading out under dark and ominous skies,|
the summit of Mount Maxwell, tucked into the low overcast.
All that being said, it was a good day to be on the water.
|The sky lightens,|
illuminating mini "sea stacks", Saltspring Island.
At sea level, ice is a most unusual sight in this "Mediterranean" zone, but little frozen sculptures from run-off were evidence of the recent stretch of below-freezing temperatures.
|Melting ice above an oyster shell beach.|
Strangely, I was thinking about the possibility of cougars, swimming across the channel. Sparked by an interesting posting on an excellent Gabriola Island blog, I wondered what we would do if one of these large cats and our kayaks "intersected". They are incredible swimmers and are known to "paddle" these same waters between Vancouver Island and Saltspring. As the Gabriolan points out, they are also known to try to board a moving boat. They wouldn't have much trouble tipping a kayak! Hmm...
|A cougar - courtesy of Wikipedia.|
Clearly, we had paddled into "someone's" territory and the most expedient thing to do, on our part, was make a quick turn to the port and head back to...port! As we paddled away from Saltspring's shores, the large sea mammal surfaced again, this time behind us, another angry snort announcing his / her presence.
I was rather impressed at how fast we paddled on the return crossing.
|Wanting to avoid annoying the sea lion, we headed back across the narrows.|
|Only at high tide is there any entry to this nook.|
|"Art", sea, forest, and sky.|
I rarely find the exercise of "day dreaming" a waste of time. On this day, it became part of the adventure to visualise an "engagement", with yet another, albeit unlikely, creature of these Island waters - a swimming cougar. Sometimes, situation awareness can be nurtured through anticipation, and employable strategies, through imagination. Really, it's not much different from sitting in a simulator, with technology introducing a vast array of possible scenarios.
The swimming cougar was almost as real as the snorting seal lion. The "mind's eye" does a superb job of creating images and - and the imagination happily lives out the drama of the story line!
Never a dull moment in the kayak cockpit! :)