An 18-foot high tide has forced the little dog and I off the beach. We scramble up and down a series of headlands near Amalga Harbor. Aki leads me down otter trails. Smaller than an otter, she glides under the alders and blue berry bushes that challenge me. Aki waits with apparent patience while I push through the barriers. Strong sun sparkles on surf just offshore and gives her a glowing gray aurora. We are trying to reach a little pocket beach that offers a private view of Lynn Canal and sometimes sea lions, seals and whales.
Breaking through a border of alder and crabapple brush, we stumble upon a collection of Herring Gulls sunbathing on top of the rock outcropping that once offered us a great view of feeding humpback whales. Normally as common looking as pebbles on a storm beach, the gulls, squatting on electric green moss, backlit by the sun, look like self-possessed dowagers on the French Riviera.