Whether sifting through sand, or scrambling over a rocky shore, it's about finding treasures in every day. 

Pot Fishing for Crow

We fish with nets, we fish with hook and line, and we fish with pots. There's crab pots for catching crab and shrimp pots for catching shrimp. I never thought about fishing for birds...

A few weeks ago there was the sharp rap of a hard snail shell hitting the top of the boat. Over and over. Crows drop shells on hard surfaces to break them and get to the meats inside. Sometimes, when they choose our boat to open their breakfast on, I shoo them away. That morning I tried to ignore them.

Bird cage, Alaska style.

Awhile later the noises changed. There was a scuffling sound, and two crow voices that didn't have their standard raucous ring. I pulled my jacket on and went to see what those kids were up to.

Apparently one of the crows dropped a shell and it bounced into a crab pot that we store on the upper deck. The crow figured out how to go in through the gate to retrieve it's snack, but couldn't get back out!

Crow in crowbar hotel. Oh the shame of it all.

So I took it's picture. How embarrassing. Tough to tell if a crow is blushing, though.

It's buddy hightailed it for a neighboring boat from which there was a good view of the goings on.

Have you ever had a job that made you feel like this?

No photos of the moment of release. I was a little busy right then, opening the lid and gently convincing the crow that it was free to go.

For the next week two crows hung around on a neighboring boat and yelled at my sweetheart every time he walked by. We don't speak crow, so we aren't quite sure if they were talking nice or not.

Appreciating freedom,

Alaska Beachcomber

Whales, Mink, and Crows

One of the beauties of living aboard a boat is casting off the lines and taking the whole house with on a little trip. We did that last week, starting on a cloudy day, and cruising down Zimovia Strait to moor at the pilings in front of the cabin. Along the way there were five whales feeding. They surfaced here and there, two of them moving individually, and three keeping close company.

Humpback whales blowing. 

They are amazing creatures to watch, and I never tire of seeing them.  We didn't see any bubblenet feeding or breaching, but it was fun to watch the whales surface and dive.

Activities for the week-long outing were varied. We explored in the skiff, hiked up hillsides, and enjoyed seeing some wildlife.

We spent one boat day when it was pouring rain out. My sweetheart pulled gallon bags of wild blueberries out of the freezer and made 24 pints of jam and syrup. I helped ladle hot jam, clean jar rims, and clean up. Days of picking blueberries in late summer make lots of sense when there is a blueberry pie in January, and yummy jam all year.

The boat moored to the pilings at the cabin. 

While out in the skiff we saw a mink darting in and out of the rocks along a beach. It was eating the small purple shore crab that tuck into the crevices and tide pools between tides.

Mink (Neovison vison ) 

This guy is just under two feet long.  

Mink are members of the weasel family with sharp teeth and claws and high quality fur. Their motions are quick, so I often see just a flash of brown and then they are gone.

This guy was busy and didn't pay much attention to the skiff. 

Mink eating a purple shore crab. 

American mink (Neovison vison)  peeking out between barnacles and seaweed. Don't let that little face fool you. This mink will shred your hand if you try to pet it.

The mink found a treasure trove of mink food - the remains of a large fish, so we left as the lucky little guy was gorging itself. 

There is an occasional pebble or sand beach here, but most Southeast Alaska beaches are unfinished. Some are downright raw; stone set on edge, illustrations of the power of tectonic processes. Still the temperate rainforest finds foothold in the bedrock, topping rugged shorelines with tangled vegetation.

 Maybe the shore in the photos to the right and below will be refined into a walkable beach in, say, a bazillion years.

So let's not dwell on that. 

As we motored by an exposed reef we saw a murder of crows feeding on wild crow food - snails, mussels, and other beach creatures. They have quite a buffet when the tide is out.

They discussed the proximity of humans in a skiff and decided to depart.  

And they all took off. 

All except Frankie.  

With everyone else gone, Frankie found that the buffet was laid out for his personal, private feast. Frankie got right to work making the best of the situation.  

He would catch up to the flock when he was full. Not a problem finding them, their cawing could be heard for two miles.

May you always see the sunshine in the situation,

Alaska Beachcomber

More posts with whales:

Hardworking Whales

Humpback Whales at Point Baker

And sea otters! Sea Otters, Seals, and ...an Eagle?