NEWS OF EXCITEMENT AND DISAPPOINTMENT.......Now that the party's over, what next?! It was back to check on the whale this week and see if more bones could be removed. I hiked out on Monday under sunny skies. The wind was calm, and everywhere it was sparkling and beautiful. As I neared the shore, I thought the surf sounded unusually loud. Sure enough, the waves were hitting the shoreline with a vengeance. The tide was high, and I started to wonder if I would get out to where the whale lay stranded. There was not a lot of space between the crashing surf and dry rocks as I picked my way cautiously, watching for a rogue wave! In places, the coves were filled with foam making my progress worrisome (That is my shadow in the midst of the foam!). Once I got out to the whale, I saw that there was no way I was going to get to the carcass. The waves were hitting it, and I thought this may be the last time I see the animal. I bagged up a few of the bones I had left in the bushes, and started to head back. This time, I tried bushwhacking through the underbrush to reach the road. I picked up several ticks in the process, but finally made it. The roar of the sea kept up as I retreated from the shoreline. I actually wondered if I might see another animal tossed up on the rocks. When you see the ocean in such a wild state, you understand how large animals and huge logs can be tossed ashore. Luckily, I wasn't a victim of its fury.

I went back a day later at low tide. The waves were still making vicious statements, but I found what was left of the whale. It had been rolled further on shore into a tangled mess of tissue. Another scapula had been separated and several more bones were exposed. The disks between the vertebrae were scattered about. I decided to come back another day and proceeded along the rocky shoreline with a couple more bones in a bag. There was a stiff breeze and a wind driven drizzle. The temperature was in the 40's so this time I didn't work up a sweat. Back at the beach, I noticed several sponges had been torn loose. We see the Bread Crumb Sponge (at the bottom, yellowish), but the Dead Man Fingers are not often seen. Here they are for a comparison. Remember, these are invertebrate animals!

When not whale hunting, I have been enjoying the fall colors which are now fading. The leaves are falling as I write. However, I had an interesting hike along the Cathance River in Topsham over the weekend. We spotted a porcupine high in the trees. These are capable climbers. This one was on an Oak branch, probably seeking out acorns. The Maple leaves give you an idea of the colorful scene they have been making. Now, however, the leaves are falling, big time. I've been raking them up and mulching them in the garden. I also bagged up some dark "wood pulp and grindings" from the beach to add to the fertility in the garden. Gardens are hard work, but we are still enjoying the vegetable production. Potatoes, Onions, Peppers, Lettuce and Carrots make it to the dinner table, but the Tomatoes and Beans are now long gone. I've had my last Zucchini, too. The freshly planted garlic is sending up green fingers of growth for next season's bounty! I've never grown that before.

I wanted to add pictures of blooming Catnip and shots of bird watchers. That will await another report. I do have to give the surprising and sad news that the whale skull has disappeared. I am sunk! I'm not sure who took it, but maybe someday I'll learn its outcome. I can't blame the storms we have been having since we moved the skull off the rocks. If you see a whale skull sitting in someone's yard, let me know. I think I will have words with them. Such is life, and death. 10/28/08 Ronnie in a funk.