Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Gulf Islands adventure Day 2

Weather forecast this morning said no wind, but suggested rain. So. I thought I'd go for a day trip. I left Pirate's Cove about 8:00, rowing past the waking yachts, trying to read their thoughts as I slipped by in my tiny rowing boat. I rowed a direct line for the cliffs of Valdes Island. They are stunning and I must send you to this link to view them:

I was so happy and thankful for being there. I was in the perfect boat for this adventure. I felt strong and was given the gift of contentment. All very spiritual. I rowed along those walls for about 2 miles before they became less steep and trees were able to grow down to the water's edge.

I paused for a bite and some juice at Blackberry Point. There I found three groups of kayakers, and none of them in any hurry to start their day. The beach was made of broken shells and about as long as a city block. Lots of room for more lounging paddlers.

The bottom photo attached was taken at that point. Once again there was lots of interest in the boat, but instead of amazement at my being on the water in such a tiny boat (typical reaction from skippers of the giant yachts) I was greeted with the respect of beginners in small boats. Some jealousy for the amount of gear, and stability as well as the sails too. When they asked where I was headed, I casually waved towards the south-west and said, "It doesn't matter." They gave me the look reserved for great and fearless explorers.

Truth was, I didn't know where I was headed. I just knew there was little point in going back to the mosquitoes and I had my campsite right with me! I rowed in the direction of Reid Island and crossed back across Trincomali Channel. No wind, but rowing was fine. Once I passed the north end of that island, I checked the GPS and found I'd entered the wrong data for the nearest provincial marine park. I 'd have to start paying attention again to where I was. The wind came up and I gratefully raised sails. After about fifty metres, the wind changed to rain! DANG! The rain poncho kept me dry enough as I doused the sails and continued to row. By this time, my hands were getting very tired from the constant gripping of the oars, trying to keep the blades properly oriented to the water. As my hands tired, the approaching wakes seemed to more seriously throw off my stroking. Beautiful and rugged shorelines with very handsome houses all along. But I was worried about taking the camera out of its tunnel home beside the tiller and exposing it to the rain. That rain paused for a few moments just as I was rowing between the shoreline of Wallace Island and a ridge of rock just offshore. Like the spine of some giant sea creature! That would be the top picture posted above.

I arrived at Conover Cove mid afternoon, after rowing off and on for about seven hours. The GPS said I'd rowed about 12 nautical miles (straight line) but my scenic detours must have added another three. I tied up at the dinghy dock and went for a walk. Oh yes, the rain returned. A link to information about the park is here: http://www.britishcolumbia.com/parks/?id=537 A year ago, I read the account of the man who owned the resort here during the fifties and it was eerily satisfying to walk among the old cabins.

Once again, I anchored in the solitude of a tiny cove. I'd done my day's exercise so after a late supper and boat organizing, off to sleep!


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