Winter Casualties

Winter can be harsh. And although the temperatures have been somewhat mild around here, we’ve suffered plenty of wind storms. Still, I took advantage of a small break in the weather, put away the keyboard, and got myself on the water.

Winter Wreckage
Every winter I find boats, large and small, that have broken away from their mooring. (Photograph by Steve Weileman)

It wasn’t long before I saw the evidence of just how harsh this winter has been. With no where particular in mind to go, I made my usual loop around Ketron Island. Near the south end of the island I found my annual winter wreckage; a small sailboat which had apparently broken from its mooring and wrecked on the shoreline. Every year I find damaged boats. Sailboats, powerboats, large and small.

Winter Casualty - Harbor Seal
This poor male Harbor Seal was washed up on the beach not far from the sailboat. (Photograph by Steve Weileman)

What was unexpected, and somewhat sad, was the large male Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina) I found not far from the wreckage. The carcass had been somewhat scavenged so it was hard to tell how long he’d been there, but his fur was still soft to the touch. Although it’s part of the circle of life, doesn’t make it any easier to see such a beautiful animal lifeless on the beach.

As I continued my journey around the island, I realized that winter had been harsh even to the island itself. Much of the cliffs have slide, and more the usual tress where down. Harsh.

Winter Fern
Nice to see some color in all the winter drab. (Photograph by Steve Weileman)

About the only color and sign of life where the ferns defiantly holding on to the hillsides. Like them,  I’m holding on, but am more than a little ready for spring to return.

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