I had never been too concerned about the underworld; below our floating house. Our ‘cellar’ can stretch for miles in the deep ocean. It can contain giant octopi; a blue whale (the largest animal on earth) and some of the tiniest glittering life forms; like a galaxy up-side-down. Although, I must admit, when Dave was tingling a copper ‘plaster’ to Lista’s undercarriage in the Pacific, the thought of the ‘torpedoes’ that might explode from its murky depths, did cross both our minds.
All this changed today. We were absent-mindedly kayaking along the fjord’s shoreline when suddenly we hit a large rock. Instantaneously the rock morphed into jaws that wrapped around the nose of our kayak, less than a metre from my wellies. Her eye was huge and brown. Dave started beating the water to scare her away. I was readying to plunge into the olive fjord in a writhing mass with our huge accoster. The kayak lurched. Then suddenly, she was gone, diving deep into the icy waters.
Complete shell shock. We wildly paddled to the shore and flung ourselves from the kayak onto land. We inspected the damage, there was a large puncture mark through the top side of the thick plastic bow and on a couple on the underside. Then, on closer inspection we noticed half a tooth enmeshed in the plastic!
Poor girl, she had obviously had as much of a shock as us. It must have completely shattered her quiet fishy revelry; to suddenly have a mighty white 7 metre creature stealthily creeping up on her!
Stoically bearing the wounds, our tank of a kayak bore us into the estuary. Whilst walking along the river, we were completely shocked to find our elephant seal* motionless in the water. What could she be doing? Was she enjoying the freezing ice melt temperatures more customary of her home in the Antarctic where she had mistakenly wondered from? Was she awaiting a party of cleaners to pick off her parasite load? Or was she in wait for the salmon that have escaped from the local fish farm?
What do you think?!
Check out: Shirihai, H and Jarrett, B. 2006. Whales, Dolphins and Seals. A Field Guide to the Marine Mammals of the World. A&C Black Publishers, London…… we have one crazy bunch of marine mammals on our planet!!!