This is one of those, you gotta be there to believe moments. Even now, two years later, I can’t believe it happened. I have NEVER been so close to an eagle in my life.
As it happened, we were on charter early in the season and decided to stop for an overnight at Tenakee Springs. There’s a little bath house there and it’s a funky little town, so our guests wanted to see it.
First “funky” moment. We arrive and have just barely tied up. Suddenly, a loud siren — like an air-raid siren — starts to go off and we were all wondering what it was! It kept going and we weren’t sure (remember, this is a post-9/11 world) if we were under attack or what the heck.
As it turned out, it was nothing so dire. It was a test of the siren that calls the volunteer fire department, so all was good. Our guests decided to depart the boat for a bit of a walk about and a possible visit to the bath house. Our Deck/Stew and Jr. Stew asked to go ashore to stretch their legs, and, because I had dinner and cocktail apps well in hand, Captain and I let them head out.
One of our guests had caught a lovely King Salmon that day, so Captain was preparing to filet it out on the aft deck where we had a cleaning station attached to the swim step staple rails. I had headed into the galley to start some prep. For some reason, I walked back aft…and was met with a giant shadow! An eagle, just feet off our starboard aft!
But, as I got ready to “report” the sighting, Captain Pat shared something wild: he had just cut the first filet of the salmon off the backbone and was getting ready to flip the fish over to do the second side when he saw the sky get dark. Not even thinking, he slammed his hand down on the filet…and the eagle that had intended to snatch it flew off. The same eagle I saw! It almost made off with the guests’ fish! The nerve!
So, I decided to try something: the we had some leftover salmon scraps from cleaning/filleting so I put it on the cleaning table and then hid on the deck, behind the canvas draping the railing. I set my iphone on Slo-Mo and put it right down in the gap between the railing and the deck. It didn’t take a minute before that eagle left its perch on the wires above the dock and dropped down for that slab of salmon morsel. And, as it flew over the cleaning table and grabbed the salmon piece, I could feel the breeze from the wings. That eagle was less than 4 feet from where I was hiding.
I shared the video to Facebook and it just took off. To this day, I watch this and all the moments come back to me. Our guests showed up shortly after this event, and we tried to leave another piece for the eagle so the guests could experience this moment, but the eagle was gone…
As we like to say, “Must be present to win!” At least I had the video to prove it.