Eagles were screaming as I walked down Market Street in Port Hardy. Something caught my eye. I looked up and a huge immature Bald Eagle flew overhead. He was brown and covered with white flecks. His bald white head had not yet blossomed. Seeing this majestic & young bird of prey reminded me of two things: 1) An old Christmas present from my mom and 2) A key reason for this adventure.
Number One: My mom gave me a pair of boxer shorts when I was 18 years old. The shorts were printed with a eagle flying through a lightning storm. My boxer shorts lasted a decade before they finally disintegrated. The present was a favourite of mine, but it’s also a reminder that parents really can inspire our love of nature and wildlife in simple ways. Not only did I have eagle boxer shorts, but plates printed with bears and moose hung on my bedroom walls. Those walls were bordered with orcas. If we create children who love wildlife, we will also create leaders who will protect wildlife for the following generations.
Which leads me to Number Two: We are rowing through a habitat dense with wildlife. Eagles, sea lions, auks, cormorants, otters and seals are just some of the wildlife that we have seen. I have been Tweeting out some of the animals I see. Check out our wildlife count at the hashtag #salishseaexpedition
Wildlife is precious, and we must be vigilant to protect it. Recently, a 12-year study (Bird Studies Canada) came out observing a decline in population for 40% of BC’s bird species. There is hope, though. We can figure out how to be responsible stewards. When scientists discovered that PCB’s were killing birds of prey in the 60′s and 70′s, these pesticides were banned. Now, the eagle population is healthy and slowly increasing, as we have been observing on this
Well, this row is not over and I should get back to preparing for our trip around Cape Scott and over the Nahwitti Bar, one of B.C.’s most treacherous passages. Planning and preparing for the waves and tides is key, if we are to stay true to the #1 rule of this ocean rowing team. In case you forget, rule number one is: Be Safe.