Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ozette and the Olympic Coast

The bright grey morning calls me awake, softly, with muffled waves below my perch. I am careful not to move suddenly, in a lone sleeping bag wrapped in nylon on top of a high bluff on the beach. It's not strictly recommended to sleep here, in just barely enough square footage to lie down before the grass drops off steeply to piled driftwood and 360 degrees views of the ocean and temperate rainforest of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. But with good weather and cautious intentions, I slept peacefully under the stars.

A quick scan with the binoculars reveal a mother otter and her pup breaking their fast with shellfish, immediately below the bluff. For hours they perform on the stage below, diving, eating, floating, and playing among the fronds of kelp; a daily ballet of parent and child. When the mother dives, the pup ducks its head below, though its buoyant fur prevents true immersion. Next the pup mimics cracking mussels on rocks, or to be specific it's not sure exactly what the mother otter is doing but waves its paws as the first step. Eating the fruit of these labors is of course is no problem, and both otters happily breakfast together on the kelp forest's bounty.