My Masked Friend

Yesterday’s kayak outing was a bit slow overall, but still had some shining moments. Like an upclose encounter with a raccoon. This encounter began ~10 minutes before the actual sunrise. I was sitting in the water, next to one of the many islands at this Conservation Area. There was little noise, very peaceful, until a thrashing-like noise came from the bank. I looked up to see a raccoon wandering out into the water and then began swimming towards the kayak:

As he got close, he realized I was there. Without much fuss, he veered off and swam around me to one of the islands, stopping at some cover in the water, just before reaching the island:

After hearing my camera’s shutter, he swam a few more feet until he reached the first island. He quickly ran down the island, behind cover of plants on the island, then swam across a small opening to the next island (this area has many, very small islands throughtout the ~76 acres). At that point, he came down to the island’s edge, heard my shutter and stood up to check me out:

Seeing me, he ran back up on the island, behind some trees, and peered around them at me:

Not wanting to stress him out, I turned the kayak around and left the area so that he could be on his merry way. It’s always fun to be with and photograph these little guys. Often, they look up and see me, then return to foraging at the bank’s edge for food. I expect that after seeing me a few times, they will settle back down into this carefree behavior.

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