Sunday, March 16, 2014

SOLSC #16: Serendipity on the Beach

    Today I join my fellow bloggers in
"serving up a slice" to the March SOLSC
   sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.
Some of my happiest moments occur on the beach - my first glimpse of the ocean more than 40 years ago as a college student visiting Oregon, our first family reunion in Galveston, sharing the beach with deer on Cannon Beach, and now a discovery during our annual book club retreat on Whidbey Island.  I threw out this teaser in last Monday's post . . . "Lucky to have more ideas than days to slice, I can't wait to share what we discovered on the beach when we slowed our pace to watch."

Our first sighting!
With St. Patrick's Day on the horizon it's time to share our lucky discovery!  Anne and I were returning ahead of three other friends.  They walked fast, while we strolled.  I was worried about the waning light, so we turned around and headed down the beach toward the cabin.  Suddenly, I spied movement ahead of us as something emerged from the driftwood.  I stopped Anne, pointed, and said, "Porcupine,"  I'm not sure why that idea popped into my head (do we even have porcupines in Washington?), but it was a critter on four legs and we had discovered a porcupine gnawing the steps to the cabin in Colorado many years ago.  I thought we had best keep our distance, just in case.  So we stopped, watched, and savored this moment.  

We were too far away to know exactly what it was, but raccoon was the next thought that popped into my head.  We shared our urban habitat with raccoons in Houston, so why not a raccoon on the beach?  As we continued to watch and stealthily moved a bit closer, we discovered that this animal was dragging a log.  Soon a walker caught up to us and joined us to spy on this wildlife.  I snapped pictures with my phone, but our lone walker had a fancy camera with a zoom lens.

Jennifer (in a green jacket) walking toward us.
Before long, Jennifer appeared on the beach coming from the direction of the cabin.  We used our best sign language to convince her to stop walking and watch this critter with us.  We were afraid that if we shouted, this animal would bolt back into the driftwood.  Soon, we were joined by the three fast walkers.  In addition to dragging the log, the animal also stopped to gnaw on it periodically.  As it finally abandoned the log and waddled toward the water, a unique tail confirmed our suspicions.  

Our friend with the zoom lens said that in twenty years of living here, he had never before seen this animal on the beach!  I just wish I had given him my email, so he could have shared his photos with us.  You'll just have to accept my word that the fuzzy critter in these photos was indeed a beaver!  
A beaver in salt water?
No photos as it waddled for the beach because I had passed
my phone to Anne so she could give directions to our last
group of friends searching for the cabin.  


  1. I just love discoveries like this. Nature is amazing and you never know what critters will turn up where. But a beaver by the sea?!? who would have thought that!

  2. Oh my, a beaver! There surely is freshwater somewhere. When we were at the beach last summer, we learned that there is a big population of raccoons on the island, a real problem they said. Thanks for telling your wonderful story!