Monday, February 5, 2018
Breakfast at the Green Park Hotel in Tsurui was Japanese, with grilled salted salmon, daikon pickles, rice, and miso soup.
My ankle was still swollen, but more recognizable as an ankle. It was difficult easing my foot back into my lace-up snow boot. I had traded a thinner knee-high sock for a thick padded ski sock, resulting in the heated insoles bunching up at the toes, concentrating the heat so much my toes were burning as I “scrambled” into the van.
We headed to the dock for a boat outing, to see and shoot sea eagles. When we arrived the day before, pack ice had flowed into the harbor, but alas, it was gone by morning.
White-tailed eagles are here year round, while Stellar’s Sea Eagles come here only in mid-winter.
Fish tossed from the boat brought the hungry birds in close range, almost too close for a 100 mm lens; motor drives were whirring on the top deck and below at the water level as the fast flying, nimble birds scooped up the fish in their talons and swooped away.
Our timing was again lucky, as the prior day’s snow dropped the visibility too much for the boats to go out, so the birds had missed a day’s feeding and were extra hungry, coming in close and repeatedly.
Our restroom stop was at a seafood emporium where the friendly salesladies pressed uni samples upon us, as well as dried squid and salmon. Greg was in heaven accepting uni samples.
Arriving at Hotel Parkway in Teshikaga, where we would stay 2 nights, I rushed a shower and a much-needed ofuro soak, trying to be ready by 6 pm. Arriving back in the room with wet hair, I was reassured to see both Steve’s coat and jacket in the wardrobe, indicating he hadn’t left yet and must be bathing. This meant to me, we must be meeting at 6:30 pm and not 6 pm as I had thought. Of course, Susan dictated dinner departure times without any consultation from us. There was no: “Can everyone be ready by 6 pm to drive to dinner?” When Steve returned to the room, splendidly turned out in the blue and white patterned yukata and navy winter overrobe, he was dismayed to learn we were not staying in the hotel for dinner and had to hurriedly change. Greg was sending warning texts by now: “She’s pissed”.
Next up: a real Swan Lake (Lake Kussharo and Whooper swans)