More Olympic Peninsula / by Matt Clysdale

I spent the last day of my Olympic Peninsula photo tour communing with a very friendly river otter at Salt Creek. He spent the whole morning fishing the river bed, mainly for starry flounder, but occasionally he'd come up with something else, including this eel! I watched him aggressively hunt it down near the river bank and then wrestle it to death in it's mouth, all the while consuming it for breakfast! 

Eel-eating otter. This otter had a voracious appetite, eating nearly two dozen, various fish over the course of a few hours.

My technique for photographing this guy was to crouch down on the river bank (the tide was low) and when the otter submerged I would jump up and run frantically closer to where I figured the otter would resurface. I could approximate that spot because it would leave a trail of bubbles along it's swim path. Right before it would surface I would crouch down again, with my camera in place. It must have been mystified (if not annoyed) by the constant presence of this odd looking human everywhere along the creek. The good thing is I didn't interrupt a single meal, and this otter proceeded to fish all morning.