I portage north from my house and down to the west end of the "crossing over place", the south end of Portage Bay. Along the way, in the forested park that I have to pass through, I meet two gentlemen and we have a nice talk. This would not happen if I did not "walk" my canoe to the water. Two hooded mergansers are at the put in and a red wing blackbird trills steadily from the top of the tallest tree. It is gray and calm. And so, I paddle out and once I pass the beaver lodge, where the water deepens, I trade my rock paddle for my long bladed deep water one. It has a map of today's route painted on the blade.
I head west today. The thick overcast hides the sun and so, time doesn't pass except by the stroke of the paddle.
And, I just keep heading west, past Gasworks Park, where I see the snow covered Olympic Mountains in the distance. Past the boat yards and the fishing fleet, and to the locks. I wait 20 minutes before it is my turn. I have the entire lock to myself. Just one sixteen foot canoe dropping the 15 feet to the Salish Sea.
Now, the ducks become mostly goldeneyes. The male is the most handsome of any of the black and white ducks with a white cheek, throat and breast and a white bar design on the side. No man would be better dressed than to wear a tuxedo patterned after this duck.
I turn south when I reach the end of Salmon Bay, following the shore past West Point. Along the way I spot a small otter and beach the canoe to look for tracks. I find two sets of much larger otter tracks nearby, the parents no doubt, of the smaller one. Then onward around one more point and into Elliot Bay. I spot a harlequin duck, arguably the most spectacular of all ducks. I pull out as soon as I can for a mile long portage north through the low area known as Interbay. This takes me back to fresh water, not far from the locks. And I turn east towards home, finishing my trip in south Lake Union, which is still quite calm.