Fri July 23

The wind has changed from yesterday’s easterly fog to the clearer drier air from the north-west. The temperature has risen, it feels almost balmy! For the first time, the mosquitoes are annoying (wind is calm). Grey clouds are still hanging around inland, pushed against the higher table land cliffs. The fox kits are sprawled out in the sun and barely blink at our arrival. I study them closely, noting that somehow the family must be mixed as these two cream coloured kits were not here before.

Mom fox suddenly arrives and the kits are instantly in her face, begging for food, whining, jumping on her, tugging at her tail. Sitting on her haunches, she looks at me with what seems to be a pained expression, enduring the demands of the kits but she has nothing to give them. I’m sitting on the ground, she gets up and circles around me. I offer her my hat and we play a short game of tug of war. In this way, I get to study her very closely….she looks thin and fur worn compared to the fat well rounded cubs. A tuft of hair between her ears has been chewed, it looks like something took a bite out of her skull. Abruptly, she drops the hat. Yipping short barks, with five kits in tow, the family departs. The kits are snarling and scrapping, Mom looks resigned – the hunting (?) lesson is going to be a tedious affair!

Put boots on for the first time, hobble to the end of the air strip. Walking is unpleasant but do-able. Loonie size heel blisters and ankle sores will just have to be taped up. I feel like moving again and weather cooperating, we will roll out tomorrow, eastwards along the coast.

Evening activity includes packing 8 days of food for hike to Sparbo. This time, we will take the gun. Thick band of sea fog is jammed against the cliffs pinned there by strong north winds that keep the lowlands clear. Late evening sun has back lit Alfred’s silhouette, glittering pond waters and increasing fog/haze blur his outline. Very late or early morning, I’m out again, wandering but the wind has ceased and ensuing fog muffles any remaining tiny, quiet, sounds.